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Vitiligo Blog

Experimental Vitiligo Treatment Shows Promise in Mice

Posted 27 Feb 2013 by

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 27 – A genetically modified protein could provide the first effective treatment for the skin condition vitiligo, a new study in mice suggests. People with vitiligo have white patches on the face, hands and other parts of the body. Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system becomes overactive and kills the pigment cells that give skin its color. Researchers at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine developed a genetically modified protein that reversed vitiligo in mice and had similar effects on human skin tissue samples. Findings from animal studies do not always hold up in human trials, however. A protein called HSP70i plays a major role in the autoimmune response that causes vitiligo. The researchers genetically modified an amino acid in the protein in order to create a mutant version of HSP70i. This version replaces normal HSP70i ... Read more

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Skin Cell Transplant May Offer New Hope to Vitiligo Patients

Posted 22 Jun 2012 by

FRIDAY, June 22 – Skin cell transplants can restore pigment to the skin of some patients with the disorder known as vitiligo, new research finds. Vitiligo is a skin condition in which melanocytes, or the cells in skin that produce pigment, are destroyed. The result is the skin loses color, often in patches. Vitiligo affects about one in every 200 people in the United States. In the study, researchers from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit removed a postage stamp-sized sample of skin from the upper thighs of 23 patients. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 60 and included whites, blacks, Asians and Hispanics. Researchers then isolated melanocytes and keratinocytes, another type of skin cell, into a liquid solution. Next, researchers used a device called a dermabrader to scrape off the white patches of skin, and sprayed the liquid containing the skin cells onto the skin, allowing it to ... Read more

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Skin Condition Vitiligo Tied to Immune System Dysfunction

Posted 21 Apr 2010 by

WEDNESDAY, April 21 – Scientists have discovered several genes linked to vitiligo that confirm the skin condition is, indeed, an autoimmune disorder. Vitiligo is a pigmentation disorder that causes white splotches to appear on the skin; the late pop star Michael Jackson suffered from the condition. The finding could lead to treatments for this confounding condition, the University of Colorado researchers said. "If you can understand the pathway that leads to the destruction of the skin cell, then you can block that pathway," reasoned Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. More surprisingly, however, was an incidental discovery related to the deadly skin cancer melanoma: People with vitiligo are less likely to develop melanoma and vice-versa. "That was absolutely unexpected," said Dr. Richard A. Spritz, lead author of a paper appearing in the April 21 ... Read more

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Cell Transplant May Help Treat Vitiligo

Posted 10 Mar 2010 by

WEDNESDAY, March 10 – Skin transplant surgery successfully and safely treats vitiligo, a condition that causes white patches on the skin of about 1 in 200 people in the United States, doctors say. Light therapy and skin medications are common treatments for the condition, which is most famously associated with singer Michael Jackson. But the treatments don't always work. In a new study, researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit say they followed 23 patients for as long as six months after surgery, which involves transplanting skin cells from one part of the patient to another. Patients regained an average of about 52 percent of their missing natural skin color in treated areas; eight patients with one specific type of vitiligo gained an average of 74 percent. "Patients of color and those with vitiligo on one side of the body and in one area of the body may benefit most from this ... Read more

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