Background: At present, wound treatment of inherited epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is only supportive.
Objective: To determine the safety and clinical effects of tissue-engineered skin (Apligraf; Organogenesis Inc, Canton, Mass) in the healing of wounds of patients with different types of EB.
Design: An open-label uncontrolled study of 15 patients with EB treated with tissue-engineered skin. Each patient received tissue-engineered skin on up to 2 wounds on each of 3 clinic visits: day 1, week 6, and week 12. They were evaluated 7 (+/- 3) days and 6 weeks after each round of treatment. A quality-of-life survey was administered during week 6.
Setting: University of Miami, Miami, Fla.
Patients: Volunteers with EB.
Main outcome measure: Safety and wound healing.
Results: A total of 69 different acute wounds received tissue-engineered skin at the day-1 (24 wounds), week-6 (23 wounds), and week-12 (22 wounds) visits. Overall, 63 wounds (79%) were found healed at the day-7 visit. Of the acute wounds, 82% (51/62) were healed 6 weeks after being treated, 75% (27/36) after 12 weeks, and 79% (11/14) after 18 weeks. Nine chronic wounds were also treated. Four were healed at 6 weeks; however, 7 were still open at the last clinic visit (week 18). There were no signs of rejection or clinical infection and no adverse events related to the tissue-engineered skin. The quality of life for most patients improved after treatment. Compared with patients' recollection of wounds treated with standard dressings, healing was faster and less painful.
Conclusion: In this series of patients, tissue-engineered skin induced very rapid healing, was not clinically rejected, and was devoid of adverse effects. It was felt by the patients and families to be more effective than conventional dressings for EB wounds.