Two year old Nate Liao, afflicted with a fatal genetic skin disease, appears to have been cured after undergoing a cord blood and bone marrow transplant. The painful disease “causes the skin to fall off at the slightest touch and inevitably leads to cancer.” Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bulosa (RDEB) patients lack a certain type of collagen which renders the skin very delicate. The children must have their entire body continuously wrapped in bandages and may succumb to infections. The lining of their gastrointestinal tract is so fragile the slightest morsel of food can tear and blister the lining of the esophagus, making it very hard to eat and keep food down. After the experimental surgery was conducted at the University of Minnesota in October of 2007, Nate not only began to eat regular table food for the first time but is demanding pork chops and Doritos.
This is proof that stem cells derived from bone marrow can effectively differentiate to treat not only blood diseases but this rare incurable skin disease. Bone marrow specialist Dr. John Wagner said, “ Maybe we can take one more disorder off the incurable list.”
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