Epidermolysis bullosa is sometimes known as butterfly skin. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this group of genetic conditions can cause the skin to be very weak and frail. This allows for blisters to happen more frequently and severely, further deteriorating skin condition further – particularly on the hands, elbows, feet and knees. In more serious cases, the disease spreads to other areas of the body and can have adverse effects such as disfigurement and vision loss.
While no complete cure currently exists, a major breakthrough has come in the form of a new gene therapy from Abeona – one which recently took a major step toward full production.
Versions of EB
There are numerous variations in this disease. Dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa is one of the more commonly found forms and can range in its intensity from mild to serious. Two other types are autosomal recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, Hallopeau-Siemens type and autosomal recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa non-Hallopeau-Siemens type.
The former of these is the most severe kind of affliction possible with blisters forming over much of the whole body. This can manifest at birth due to trauma. When these blisters heal, they lead to widespread scarring over much of the skin.
The Abeona solution
Abeona Therapeutics Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that specializes in gene and cell therapies. The company recently revealed that one of its newest products, EB-101, has received the Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy designation from the Food and Drug Administration.
EB-101 is basically a skin graft solution complete with healthy COL7A1 gene. Patients who have recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa typically lack healthy versions of this gene as their own are commonly mutated by the genetic condition.
The idea behind the treatment is to promote healthy cell growth within the patient’s body. The affected cells are re-engineered to produce the missing collagen protein, allowing the skin to remain healed and reduce the risk for further blistering.
The treatment has yielded positive results so far with complete wound healing being consistently achieved in over 80 percent of patients. While EB-101 is still in clinical trials, this certification marks a significant step toward mass market adoption. Should the therapy prove successful, it will help erase a crippling condition as well as shed light on methods to cure future genetic aberrations.
Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.