In this Oct. 18, 2017, photo provided by Ruhr University, doctors lift up a sheet of skin in a lab at St Josef-Hospital in Bochum, Germany.(Frank Jacobsen/Ruhr University Bochum via AP)
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Doctors at Children's Hospital at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, tried skin grafts from his father and donor skin, but all failed.The boy's parents asked about experimental treatments, and De Luca and his colleagues were contacted. They had previously used gene therapy to produce a small piece of skin in a similar case. The boy had a rare, incurable skin disease called junctional epidermolysis bullosa, caused by genetic mutations. People with the disease lack critical proteins that attach the outer layer of the skin to the inner layer, resulting in fragile skin with almost constant blisters and open sores.To fix that, the doctors took a small piece of the boy's skin from an area that was OK. After eight months, the doctors said that nearly all of the boy's skin had been generated by the modified stem cells.Dr. Holm Schneider warned that some severely ill patients might have an extreme reaction to skin transplants with an added gene.
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