Revolutionary Treatment Provides Almost Full Skin Transplant

first_img Scientists have pioneered a breakthrough technique that is, in essence, a full-body skin transplant using genetically engineered tissue. Mouthful though it may be, it’s also an exciting new front for medical technology.This week, a team in Italy was able to grow and then transplant specially modified skin to a seven-year old. The child had a rare skin disease that causes blisters all over, making the skin weak and prone to infection. It is very often fatal, and is about as horrifying as it sounds.In the journal Nature, the team laid out their technique. First, they gathered healthy cells from the child, then used a retrovirus to “infect” the cells with new DNA that corrected the mutation that causes the disease. Then, they grew out new cultures of skin with the repaired gene and grafted them onto the kid. The whole process took almost two years to regrow and secure a full 80% of the child’s skin. All-told, though, the new grafts have taken and are now working just as they should — as a healthy, self-regenerating barrier between the body and the outside world.“This report is a major biomedical triumph, combining gene therapy and stem cells,” geneticist Eric Topol told Gizmodo. “While only a case report, the seven-year-old boy was in a life-threatening condition and this intervention can be credited [with] saving his life.”This represents one of the first cases of such dramatic and extensive gene therapy saving a person’s life so directly, but it could well be the norm in short order. Skin is easy to get to and very thin relative to other organs. That make it easier to get into and modify directly as well as a lot simpler to access, treat, and monitor in general.Plus, we’ve already grown quite good at culturing and grafting skin as needed for all kinds of other treatments — particularly burns, which routinely affect large sections of tissue.This isn’t the first time the technique has been used, but it is the first time it’s been used so extensively on someone with so little healthy skin. The child, originally from Syria, is now doing well — even playing soccer with his father when the opportunity arises.Other children have received treatments that target bone marrow, with some even receiving bone marrow transplants, but, according the to the New York Times, those procedures aren’t often successful, with some dying from complications and those who survive struggling with persistent health problems resulting from the procedure.“We had a lot of trouble keeping this kid alive,” Dr. Tobias Rothoeft of the Children’s Hospital at Ruhr University in Germany told the Times. “After two months, we were sure we could nothing for [him] and he would die.”But the parents begged the physicians to keep trying and, after consulting the latest medical journals, the group contacted Michele De Luca, who led the team in Italy based out of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.“He promised he could give us enough skin to heal this kid, which we then tried, and we were in the end successful,” Rothoeft said.“It was spectacular,” Dr. De Luca added. “It was great. We removed the gauze, and saw the epidermis underneath. Everybody was pretty happy. We got the feeling that the body of the kid was recovering, was responding. That was the time where we thought, maybe we can make it.”The boy was kept in a medically induced coma for several months as well, to spare him the incredible pain and help with the healing process. He woke up with new skin a bit before Christmas in 2016. Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferNASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This Weekend Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.center_img Stay on targetlast_img read more

Watch 800Pound Bison Does Crazy Happy Dance on First Day of Spring

first_img A massive, 800-pound bison in North Carolina is going viral online after she did a crazy “happy dance” to celebrate the first day of spring.On Thursday, North Carolina Zoo posted a 48-second video of the galloping bison, which shows the hilarious animal bucking across an open prairie, dropping to the ground, and rolling in chewed-up grass and mud. As of this morning, the video has generated almost 100,000 views and more than 1,000 shares on Facebook. Debbie Foster Fuchs, the zoo’s spokesperson, told the Charlotte Observer that the bison is named Calf, and she’s part of the zoo’s small herd of American Bison. The other female bison are named Libby, Lucy, and Nohorn, a bison that doesn’t have any horns. According to the zoo’s website, American Bison can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. Despite their large frames, these animals can reach run speeds of 40 mph and use their heads as plows in winter weather to dig up plants. Interestingly enough, bison are also crepuscular, meaning that they rest during the heat of the day.More on Tiny Bird Made One of the Longest Migrations EverGigantic, Rare Sunfish Randomly Washes Up on a Beach in AustraliaChina Clones the ‘Sherlock Holmes of Police Dogs’ Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferWatch: Deep-Sea Octopus ‘Billows Like a Circus Tent’ Stay on targetlast_img read more