Stem Cell Treatment for Genetic Skin Condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB)
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a stem cell treatment, using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to treat Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB); a field in which they are pioneering world leaders.
Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) is a condition that effects connectivity in a patient’s tissue – to put it simply, skin produces blisters and rips with minimal contact. Around 1 in 20,000 children suffer from EB and infections can be seriously life threatening. In some cases, they can also affect internal organs.
The team at the University used a treatment that involves renewing the immune system in sufferers (done through chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant). This is then followed up by the injection of mesenchymal stem cells which regenerate the tissue that has been damaged.
When they conducted the first transplants using donor bone marrow and umbilical cord blood in 2007, they were trying to produce a collagen that binds skin together and is lacking in EB patients. But they had little certainty about the types of cells that would work best.
Since then, research discoveries have allowed them to home in on mesenchymal stem cells, which they believe are uniquely good at bullying their way into the body and producing the missing collagen.
“This is the first time ever, that I know of, when you are infusing them with the goal that these cells will stay,” said Dr. Jakub Tolar said. “They will graft into the skin, set up shop there. It’s as if these mesenchymal stem cells are coming home.”
Mesenchymal stem cells, the same ones found in dental pulp, proved to be more successful in restoring skin by producing vital collagen and were the ‘go-to’ choice for researchers of EB.
We believe the best stem cells to use in emerging treatments will be the patient’s own stem cells as this doesn’t require a search for a suitable donor and in turn, eliminates chances of the transplanted cells being rejected.
For more information on banking cells from milk teeth download our information pack here.