University of Minnesota study found a new treatment of the skin disease called epidermolysis bullosa (EB). The new device is bone marrow. The debilitating condition is caused by significantly reduced collagen type 7 protein(col7) production, a key component of the anchoring fibrils that connect the cutaneous membranes to the dermis of the skin and mucosal tissues in the gastrointestinal tract.
For the study, the researchers worked with a mouse model of RDEB-infused bone marrow cells to determine if they would increase production of the col7 protein and formation of anchoring fibrils, and improve survival in the mouse recipients. The results of the study showed that when injected into mice with RDEB, these specially selected marrow-derived stem cells diminished the disease process.
The results indicated that the systemic infusion of wild-type bone marrow cells could provide benefit to other human disorders of the extracellular matrix. Now scientists are working towards identifying the requirements of bone marrow-derived stem cells capable of efficiently homing to wounded skin and producing an array of extracellular matrix proteins.