Send to

Choose Destination
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2003 Jun;48(6):886-92.

Graftskin therapy in epidermolysis bullosa.

Author information

Department of Dermatology, Detroit Michigan, USA.



Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a family of 23 genetic skin disorders for which treatments are mainly supportive. Graftskin is a bilayered living human skin construct characterized by a normal expression profile of all the genes reported as mutant in EB.


The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficiency and durability of graftskin in the treatment of EB.


A total of 9 children with EB were treated with graftskin. These include EB simplex: Dowling-Meara type (n = 2); Weber-Cockayne type (n = 1); junctional EB-Herlitz type (n = 1); and recessive dystrophic EB (n = 5). Lesions were debrided of epidermis and crusts followed by application of fenestrated graftskin under sterile conditions. Syndactyly hand release for "mitten deformity" was performed after removal of all epidermis under general anesthesia. All treatment sites were dressed with a nonadherent contact layer followed by absorbent foam dressing, roll gauze, and a compression wrap covering and were left intact for 1 week. Graft take was assessed clinically at weeks 1, 2, 4, 12, and 20 to 28. Graft persistence was assessed by electron microscopy and polymerase chain reaction analysis at weeks 4 and 12, and between weeks 20 and 28 on selected cases.


A total of 96 sites were treated with 90% to 100% healing observed by 5 to 7 days, and many sites appearing as normal skin by 10 to 14 days. Finger and hand lesions showed 50% to 90% improvement in range of motion over baseline. Two children learned to walk after graftskin treatment of chronic plantar lesions. Two children had improvement in their chronic anemia after graftskin treatment. All patients and/or parents reported rapid pain resolution. Immunologic and genetic studies of graft persistence revealed evidence of donor DNA up to 28 weeks after graftskin application. None of the samples from female patients demonstrated Y chromosome-specific sequence when analyzed by the method of short tandem repeat.


The encouraging results reported herein support the hypothesis that graftskin is more than a simple bandage or a source of growth factors to stimulate autologous closure of EB wounds. The improved quality of life and rapid achievement of growth/development milestones we have observed makes this an exciting step forward in the care of the patient with EB.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center