A 9-year-old boy, whose family has decided to remain anonymous, is finding relief after suffering from an incurable skin disease.
According to his father, the boy was near death and questioning his fate. They were all prepared for the worst.
But today, the boy has beat the odds and lives a regular childhood. His miraculous recovery is an example of gene therapy’s effective power.
Junctional epidermolysis bullosa is the name of the disease. It’s one manifestation of a group of genetic conditions that result in fragile skin and blistering. Minor injuries and friction such as rubbing or scratching can cause serious skin erosion. To read more about it, click here.
The boy’s doctors in Germany had found themselves at a loss and resorted to simply easing his pain as much as they could. This wasn’t enough for his parent’s, however, who began pursuing other options.
Their search led them to Michele De Luca at the Center for Regenerative Medicine in Modena, Italy, who had been experimenting on a new therapy for skin diseases. De Luca recognized that the treatment was still in an experimental phase so it posed many risks.
The team was able to grow new skin for the boy and sent it to doctors in Germany to replace most of the boy’s already deteriorated skin. After the first transplant, the boy was seeing positive results. The second treatment took place on his back and involved an even larger transplant of synthetic skin.
The skin began to regenerate and the boy’s health began to rapidly improve. His body temperature and blood pressure went back to normal. The risky experimental treatment had been an absolute success.
Today, the boy is spending time in school, devoid of medication, but he’s being closely monitored for skin problems. Thanks to science, another life was saved.