Working closely with Dr. Wenxin Wang and his team of EB researchers, DEBRA Ireland organised an exciting afternoon of EB research on the last day in January, 2015.
This event was held in the beautiful Charles Institute of Dermatology, in University College Dublin. The Charles Institute is not only a stunning building but is also unique, in being a research institute solely dedicated to the topic of dermatology. The afternoon began with a tour of the Institute by the Director, Professor Martin Steinhoff and was followed by a series of scientific presentations.
The first talk was given by Professor Steinhoff, on the negative impact that itch has for people who live with EB and the need to research its underlying causes, in order to treat it better. This was followed by a presentation from Professor Alain Hovnanian, from the Imagine Institute in Paris, on plans for a gene therapy clinical trial to treat severe EB. Prof. Hovnanian is a world leader in this area and talked about the years of immense preparation required to get the project to its current point and the plans to test the first patients. His presentation was followed by excellent talks from Spanish researchers Dr. Marcela Del Rio and Dr. Fernando Larcher, who focused on tissue engineering and cell therapies for EB. Last but not least, we heard from Dr. Wenxin Wang and Lara Cutlar on their novel approach to a gene therapy for EB, for which they have made exciting progress in the lab, in recent days.
Those attending were treated to an excellent overview of the field as a whole, due to the diverse nature of the research presented by the different speakers, which covered a variety of approaches to cell therapy, gene therapy and symptom relief research in EB.
We were delighted to welcome colleagues from DEBRA UK and DEBRA International to the event, along with Dr. Rosemarie Watson, Director of the Irish EB clinics, many researchers with an interest in EB, representatives of the Irish Skin Foundation and various other valued friends, who give their time and support to DEBRA, in the area of research.