Genetically modified skin saved a child’s life

Генномодифицированная кожа спасла ребенку жизнь About two years ago in Germany, a successful operation was performed to transplant about 80% of the skin of a seven-year-old child with epidermolysis bullosa. Over the past period, the operation did not give negative consequences, so the scientists decided to talk about their experience. Bullous epidermoliosis is manifested by hypersensitivity of the skin, it is fragile in patients, like butterfly wings. Doctors at a German clinic rescued a child with a dangerous infection that affected 80% of the body’s cover. The skin transplanted to him did not take root at all, so the experts turned to the Italian University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, where experiments were conducted on the cultivation of an artificial analogue. Bioengineers took small samples of the patient’s intact skin (only 3 cm2) and introduced a modified virus into them for subsequent transport into the DNA of a healthy version of his mutated gene. After some time, the “correct” skin grown in laboratory conditions was transplanted to a patient whose life was supported by the burn department team. Previously, the baby was cut off his native skin damaged by the disease, and so that an almost square meter artificially grown analogue took root, the boy was introduced into an artificial coma. In it, he did not feel the pain that is felt when the person is conscious. After the transplant, the child spent about another year in the hospital, after which he was discharged. Most likely, he will remain healthy, however, specialists intend to continue to improve their therapeutic methods – in total, 500 thousand people with such a rare genetic skin disease currently live in the world.

Sam Richards

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