Funding holds back skin cloning in SA

2012-06-29 12:15
Earlier this month the first grafting procedure involving cloned skin in Africa was performed on 3-year-old Isabella "Pippie" Kruger. (File, Beeld)

Earlier this month the first grafting procedure involving cloned skin in Africa was performed on 3-year-old Isabella "Pippie" Kruger. (File, Beeld)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


Pippie's skin graft a success

2012-06-19 08:45

The first cloned skin graft to be performed in South Africa is a success. The skin graft was performed last week on three-year-old Isabella Pippie Kruger, who sustained third degree burns to 80% of her body. WATCH

Cape Town - Lack of funding is preventing medical researchers and doctors from performing skin cloning procedures for burn victims in South Africa.

Earlier this month the first grafting procedure involving cloned skin in Africa was performed on 3-year-old Isabella "Pippie" Kruger.

The skin was cultivated at the Genzyme laboratory in Boston, US, using small patches of skin removed from Pippie's groin.

The cloning procedure, and having the skin flown to Boston and back to South Africa, cost more than R700 000.

Expensive equipment

The doctor who performed Pippie’s operation, Ridwan Mia, said the cost of specialised equipment and chemicals prevent skin cloning in South Africa.

“Laboratories require expensive electronics which maintain the temperatures required,” he told News24.

A local medical expert says that given the funding, South Africa has the expertise to be able to perform the cloning procedures, and dramatically reduce costs for patients.

Dr Lester Davids, a molecular cell biologist in the Redox Laboratory at the University of Cape Town Medical School, works closely with the Red Cross Children's Hospital and Groote Schuur Hospital.

According to Davids, the university and hospitals have the expertise to perform the same procedure, but lack funding.

"Genzyme has the capacity to employ 100 technicians, where I only have one," he told News24.

Political will

Mia says to perform skin cloning locally will require “buy-in” from the state or private sector. He says that with adequate political will the procedure could become a reality “overnight”.

“I would love to be part of something like this,” Mia said.

Davids is currently exploring the possibility of a funding partnership with Genzyme.

“People with 80% third-degree burns rarely survive, but adequate funding could make a difference in local fire disasters like shack fires,” said Davids.

Currently, the Redox lab is the only South African laboratory that specialises in cloning of primary human skin cells.

In the meantime, his laboratory is working on a ‘co-culture’ system.

Here the focus is not only on healing the wound with cloned cells, but through the addition of pigment-producing cells, attempts to return the skin to its natural colour.
- News24
Read more on:    uct  |  ridwan mia  |  pippie kruger  |  health  |  research

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Watch: 5 skills to improve your BMX riding

Learn some great skills that will help your riding on the road and on the track.


Where were you when you last felt alive?

Tips on how to set your fitness goals
This all-terrain vehicle is badass!
The TRUTH about painkillers and exercise
WIN! Where were you when you last felt alive?

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on electronics!

Get mind blowing savings on top electronic products. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


You may be spending too much time organising and trying to control things to make sure everything is perfect instead of more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.