A phase II randomized vehicle-controlled trial of intradermal allogeneic fibroblasts for recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2013 Dec;69(6):898-908.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2013.08.014. Epub 2013 Sep 24.


Background: Chronic wounds are a major source of morbidity and mortality in generalized severe recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB-GS).

Objective: This was a phase II double-blinded randomized controlled trial of intralesional allogeneic cultured fibroblasts in suspension solution versus suspension solution alone for wound healing in RDEB-GS.

Methods: Adult patients with RDEB-GS were screened for chronic ulcers and reduced collagen VII expression. Up to 6 pairs of symmetric wounds were measured and biopsied at baseline, then randomized to cultured allogeneic fibroblasts in a crystalloid suspension solution with 2% albumin or suspension solution alone. Ulcer size, collagen VII protein and messenger RNA expression, anchoring fibril numbers, morphology, and inflammatory markers were measured at 2 weeks and at 3, 6, and 12 months.

Results: All wounds healed significantly more rapidly with fibroblasts and vehicle injections, with an area decrease of 50% by 12 weeks, compared with noninjected wounds. Collagen VII expression increased to a similar degree in both study arms in wounds from 3 of 5 patients.

Limitations: The number of patients with RDEB-GS who met inclusion criteria was a limitation, as was 1 trial center rather than multicenter.

Conclusions: The injection of both allogeneic fibroblasts and suspension solution alone improved wound healing in chronic nonhealing RDEB-GS wounds independently of collagen VII regeneration. This may provide feasible therapy for wound healing in patients with RDEB-GS.

Keywords: EB; HLA; RDEB; RDEB-GS; VAS; allogeneic fibroblasts; cell therapy; collagen VII; epidermolysis bullosa; generalized severe recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa; injections; mRNA; messenger RNA; phase II; quality of life; randomized controlled trial; recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa; visual analog scale; wound healing.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa Dystrophica / therapy*
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intradermal
  • Male
  • Transplantation, Homologous
  • Wound Healing*
  • Young Adult