"These findings pave the way for the future safe use of epidermal stem cells for combined cell and gene therapy of epidermolysis bullosa and other genetic skin diseases," says senior study author
EB is a painful condition that causes the skin to be very fragile and to blister easily, and it can also cause life-threatening infections. Because there is no cure for the disease, current treatment strategies focus on relieving symptoms. To evaluate stem cell-based gene therapy as a potential treatment, De Luca and his colleagues previously launched a phase I/II clinical trial at the
In the new study, De Luca and his team found that this treatment resulted in long-term restoration of normal skin function. Nearly seven years later, Claudio's upper legs looked normal and did not show signs of blisters, and there was no evidence of tumor development. Remarkably, a small number of transplanted stem cells was sufficient for long-lasting skin regeneration.
Even though Claudio's skin had undergone about 80 cycles of renewal during this time period, the transplanted stem cells still retained molecular features of palm skin cells and did not adopt features of leg skin cells. "This finding suggests that adult stem cells primarily regenerate the tissue in which they normally reside, with little plasticity to regenerate other tissues," De Luca says. "This calls into question the supposed plasticity of adult stem cells and highlights the need to carefully chose the right type of stem cell for therapeutic tissue regeneration."
Keywords for this news article include: Biomedical Engineering, Biomedicine, Therapy, Genetics, Treatment,
Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2014, NewsRx LLC
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