Part of the book: Human Genetic Diseases
Although rare genodermatoses such as Epidermolysis bullosa have received more attention over the last years, no approved treatment options targeting causal mutations are currently available. Still, such diseases can be devastating, in some cases even associated with life-threatening secondary manifestations. Therefore, developing treatments that target disease-associated complications along with causal therapies remains the focus of current research efforts, in order to increase patient’s quality of life and potentially their life expectancy. Epidermolysis bullosa is a genodermatosis that is caused by mutations in either one of 16 genes, predominantly encoding structural components of the skin and mucosal epithelia that are crucial to give these barrier organs physical and mechanical resilience to stress. The genetic heterogeneity of the disease is recapitulated in the high variability of phenotypic expressivity observed, ranging from minor and localized blistering to generalized erosions and wound chronification, rendering certain subtypes a systemic disease that is complicated by a plethora of secondary manifestations. During the last decades, several studies have focused on developing treatments for EB patients and significant progress has been made, as reflected by numerous publications, patents, and registered trials available. Overall, strategies range from causal to symptom-relieving approaches, and include gene, RNA and cell therapies, as well as drug developments based on biologics and small molecules. In this chapter, we highlight the most recent and promising approaches that are currently being investigated in order to provide effective treatments for patients with epidermolysis bullosa in the future.
Part of the book: Rare Diseases