Jemima Mellerio, MD: New Treatments for Epidermolysis Bullosa

Published on: 

In this interview segment, Dr. Mellerio spoke about the contents of her presentation titled ‘New Treatment Approaches for Epidermolysis Bullosa.’

This HCPLive interview with Jemima Mellerio, MD, featured a discussion with Mellerio about the biggest takeaways from her lecture titled ‘New Treatment Approaches for Epidermolysis Bullosa.’

Mellerio is known for her work as a consultant dermatologist for St John’s Institute of Dermatology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Her presentation took place at the Society for Pediatric Dermatology's Annual Meeting.

“I'm very lucky that I've been around for a long time working in the EB so I've actually probably in 1995, was my first dermatology job,” Mellerio said. “And there I was lucky enough to work with people with EB and subsequent to that I undertook a research doctorate in EB. And at that time, we were still discovering new genes that gave rise to different forms of EB. So very sort of basic science, initial genotyping, phenotyping kind of work in EB.”

She continued to describe some of the background of her presentation, including the development of research into the rare and often debilitating skin disease.

“I think, for me, it's been an interesting journey over the last almost 30 years to do that basic science: what are the genes and the new types of EB and gene discovery over the years,” she said. “But now we're at a stage where actually we can start to translate some of that into better treatments for patients. And a lot of the patients that I'm looking after now, I've been on a journey with for the last 20 or 25 years, and all I've had is supportive care to offer them.”

Mellerio noted that now dermatologists are at a point in which they can begin to get new treatments approved for EB and have better options to make circumstances improve, holding back the disease’s progression.

“So first of all, thinking about cell therapy, there's been a lot of early stage clinical trial work looking at different kinds of cell therapy,” she explained. “Be that fibroblast injection allogeneic, fibroblast injections or allogeneic, mesenchymal stromal cell therapies. I think in that area, no one would say that that is a cure for EB. But we know that things like MSCs, for example, have a very potent anti-inflammatory effect.”

Mellerio continued to describe some of the new treatment options for EB which she highlighted in her talk.

“In addition, there's a commercial clinical trial of ABCB5+ MSCs that's gotten started and will be opening up to more centers, so I think that's a nice active area of research,” she said. “The gene therapy side of things is another very interesting area, there's been a lot that's been done with ex-vivo gene therapy, and I think a lot of those results are encouraging.”

Mellerio also added that there are certain issues around grafting wounds, a task which is technically difficult given that not all body sites are amenable. Nevertheless, the new B-VEC gene therapy system is another approach Mellerio is encouraged by for dystrophic EB patients.

To hear more about Mellerio’s presentation and the other treatments she discusses, view the full interview segment above.

The quotes contained in this interview were edited for clarity.