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  • shironosov/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In a breakthrough treatment, researchers at a burn unit in Germany found a way to replace 80 percent of a boy’s skin using a combination of gene therapy and stem cells. The grafted skin attached to his body has continued to replace itself, even months later.The patient –- a boy who was 7 years old at the time of the treatment –- was born with a rare skin condition called junctional epidermolysis bullosa. The condition causes the outer layer of the skin to peel away easily from the lower skin layers, making it incredibly fragile and prone to injury.“This is a very severe, devastating disease, where kids suffer a lot,” said Dr. Michele De Luca, one of the authors of the research.Experts not involved in the research have said this successful grafting treatment is a big step for those suffering from genetic skin conditions like this one.“This is really quite exciting, to have this translation for these patients,” said Dr. Dennis Orgill, medical director of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Wound Center in Boston, who was not involved with the study. "That they can do these genetic manipulations and then have a long term result, which they’ve demonstrated here, is a major breakthrough."In this case, the treatment may have been lifesaving. The patient arrived at the hospital with a life-threatening bacterial skin infection spread over much of his body. Over the following weeks, his doctors tried everything they could to treat him without success.Out of options, his treatment team was preparing to start end-of-life care when his parents pleaded with them to try an experimental therapy.Surgeons in Germany took a sample of the boy’s skin, less than one square inch in size, that was unharmed by the bacterial infection. In a lab, researchers infected the skin biopsy with a virus specially designed to alter the genetic code within the skin cells, “correcting” the mutation responsible for his fragile skin. The researchers "grew" the skin and used it to surgically replace the patient’s blistered and destroyed skin.After 21 months, the new skin is regenerating itself without problems and has been resilient; it can hold up to normal wear much better than his original skin.While this result only applies to one rare skin disorder right now, experts said the approach could be used more widely for other diseases in the future.“We are running other clinical trials on other kinds of junctional epidermolysis bullosa," De Luca said. "In the future, it could be applied to other genetic diseases of the skin.”Researchers hope that it could help other people with seriously damaged skin in the future, too.“This technology could be extended into other patients with genetic conditions, or patients with extensive burns,” Orgill said.Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • (Courtesy: Angel Taylor) Angel Taylor, 34, of Arlington, Texas, seen with her husband Mark Taylor, 34, and the couple's four children, Jordyn, 12, Juliyn, 9 Jaxsyn, 3 and Jestyn, 9 months.(ARLINGTON, Texas) -- A father's silent reaction was recorded on video as he learned the sex of his fifth child.Mark Taylor, 34, stood shocked and speechless as he walked through the door to pink balloons on his living room floor -- revealing that he'd soon be a dad to five girls.Angel Taylor, 34, said her husband, a father of four, was quiet for a whole two hours after learning the news.“He just wouldn’t talk,” Angel Taylor of Arlington, Texas, told ABC News. “He busted out laughing a couple of times. I thought it was hilarious actually.”Angel Taylor said that her husband thought that for sure, this child would be a boy -- especially after the couple had suffered a miscarriage."My husband's thinking, 'This is a miracle baby, so this has to be a boy,'” she added. “He always wanted to call the baby [boy] Tre. I already came to terms that this was a baby girl.”On Oct. 25, Angel Taylor filmed her husband as she and their four daughters, Jordyn, 12, Juliyn, 9, Jaxsyn, 3, and Jestyn, 9 months, announced the news of girl No. 5.Once the shock wore off, dad was excited that No. 5 would once again be a little girl. "Wow," he says in the video, as he took a sip of beer.“Five is my favorite number, so five girls is fitting," Mark Taylor said in a statement to ABC News.Baby Jazlyn is due to arrive May 3.
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  • (Courtesy: Paige Benoit) Paige Benoit and Daniella Pitruzzello, both juniors at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, smile for the camera. (WORCESTER, Mass.) -- Christmas crept in early for one unsuspecting roommate who hates that people celebrate before the Thanksgiving turkey is even on the table.Assumption College junior Paige Benoit walked into her version of a Christmas nightmare after her roommate Daniella Pitruzzello decked the halls in their dorm early with over-the-top holiday decorations."She always complains about how she hates when people celebrate Christmas before Thanksgiving and when her friends send snaps of listening to Mariah Carey, so I thought, 'If this isn’t the perfect opportunity for a prank, I don’t know what is,'" Pitruzzello told ABC News with a laugh.Benoit said she hates it when people “go from Halloween mode straight into Christmas mode” because Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday."It just bugs the crap out of me," Benoit, 20, told ABC News. "Girls at my school, at midnight on November first, start blasting Christmas music. So it always drives me crazy. My roommates know how annoyed I get by it."Pitruzzello started plotting the Christmas extravaganza prank in September, gathering supplies she already owned and spending $7 on more ornaments, jingle bells and wrapping paper from the dollar store.When Benoit left to grab dinner last week at the dining hall, Pitruzzello seized the opportunity, spreading her holly, jolly spirit all over the room.Benoit returned to a full-blown Christmas wonderland, which caused her to turn into the Grinch."When I came back I opened the door to find Christmas decorations and Christmas music playing," she recalled. "She covered my tapestries, she remade my bed to put Christmas blankets on it, she had a stocking above my bed, Christmas lights were up and she wrapped my closet in wrapping paper. She also put jingle bells around my fan.“I was like, ‘Dear God, why?,’” Benoit said of her Scrooge-like reaction. “I didn’t know what to do, so I walked out of my room.”Pitruzzello said she realized her roommate really wasn’t going to come back until she took all the festive decor down, so she did. But it's all in safe keeping.The decorations are now under her bed, ready to make a Christmas comeback on Dec. 1.To clear the air, Benoit said “Christmas is still a really good holiday.”But, she said, after her grandfather passed away, her family no longer celebrated like they once did.“Christmas was my grandpa’s favorite and he loved decorating for it as a family," Benoit said. "But when he passed away, Christmas drifted back into the background because it was too sad for us to think about. So Thanksgiving became one of my favorites."
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