Vitiligo Can Be Treated within Weeks with New Therapy

Therapy has been developed by scientists that may help in treating vitiligo a disease. It is a disease that causes the loss of skin colour in patches within a few weeks.

In many parts of the world, there is great humiliation and disgrace tied to vitiligo, which is an autoimmune disease of the skin that results in deface white spots that can appear in parts on the body. In some societies, not only individuals with vitiligo but even their family members are despised and excluded from arranged marriages.

John Harris, from the University of Massachusetts in the US, stated that the exclusion is so hurting that one person suffering from the disease even asked for an amputation of his forearm afflicted by vitiligo as he could marry with only one arm but could not marry with vitiligo.

While present treatments like topical steroids and light therapy can be effectual for patients, it might take one to two years to show results. In most cases, the white spots reoccur at the same spot, often within just one year after ending the treatments.

Harris stated that their research team suspected that “memory” develops within the skin when the white spots first come up; hence, the spots “know” when to return when treatment gets stopped. Researchers found cells in vitiligo skin from mice or humans that looked a lot like the memory cells that defend the skin from a second exposure to a viral infection. The body “believes” it is fighting a viral infection when it “fails” at the patient’s normal cells, killing the pigment-producing cells in the skin known as melanocytes and causing vitiligo. These cells are known as “resident memory T cells.”

As a part of the treatment, the vitiligo mice were injected with an antibody that bars the IL-15 protein from mixing with the memory cells. The treatment cleaned up the memory cells from the mouse skin within just a few weeks, permitting the brown pigment to return in a blotched pattern, as well as in patients who reacted to therapy. Just two weeks of antibody treatments created re-pigmentation that lasted for months, with this therapy.

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