BOSTON, Mass. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Superstar Michael Jackson. Actor Jon Hamm. Fashion model Winnie Harlow. All three had or currently have vitiligo. It’s a condition that causes the skin to lose pigment, leaving white patches behind. Researchers are now testing a topical cream designed to safely repigment areas of skin.
Every time Barbara Hamilton steps outside, she covers up. She’s ultra-sensitive to the sun. It’s one side effect of the skin condition vitiligo. Hamilton first noticed a white patch on her leg when she was 25.
“When it hit my face, my forehead, that’s when I got really concerned about that,” said Hamilton.
Over the years, Hamilton tried medication and lightbox therapy to restore color. Nothing worked for long.
Hamilton explained, “I did repigment to some degree. But as I was repigmenting other areas were depigmenting.”
David Rosmarin, MD, Vice-Chair of Research and Education, Department of Dermatology from Tufts Medical Center said, “Even though so many people suffer from vitiligo, there are currently no FDA approved treatments to repigment vitiligo.”
Dr. Rosmarin led a clinical trial of a topical cream to reverse vitiligo. Patients applied the cream, ruxolitinib twice a day for six months. Half of the patients had improvement on their faces.
“We’re also optimistic that with continued use, so when you hit the year mark and beyond that there will be even more patients who repigment significantly,” said Dr. Rosmarin.
Over the past 16 years, Hamilton says her face has depigmented. Although she was not part of doctor Rosmarin’s trial, she spends her time in retirement advocating for vitiligo patients.
Hamilton told Ivanhoe, “We are actively looking for treatments. But until that time, you have to love the skin you’re in.”
Ruxolitinib is currently approved in an oral form for some blood disorders. A phase three trial of the cream will start this winter. For more information on vitiligo and patient support groups go to WWW.VITFRIENDS.ORG
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.
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TOPIC: VITILIGO CREAM GIVES SKIN COLOR AGAIN!
REPORT: MB #4637
BACKGROUND: Vitiligo is a disease that causes the skin to lose its natural color. Patches of lighter skin appear. Some people develop a few patches; others lose much more skin color. Vitiligo can also affect other parts of the body. A section of hair can turn white. Some people lose color inside their mouths. Even an eye can lose some of its color. What causes this color loss is still a mystery. It is not contagious or life-threatening, but vitiligo can be life-altering. Some people develop low self-esteem. They may no longer want to hang out with friends. They can develop serious depression. Most people have vitiligo for life, so it’s important to develop coping strategies.
TREATMENT: There is a variety of treatment options for vitiligo, but the results are unlikely to last or new patches will appear. A corticosteroid cream may help the skin return to normal, or ointments containing tacrolimus or pimecrolimus may be effective for people with small areas of depigmentation. Light therapy, skin grafting, blister grafting, and tattoos are other ways people cope with their vitiligo, but a new clinical trial might present a better option.
NEW RESEARCH: David Rosmarin, MD, Vice-Chair of Research and Education, Department of Dermatology at Tufts Medical Center talked about the phase two trial, “Insight is a pharmaceutical company that has a patent for a medication called ruxolitnib cream. And they sponsored a study that involved 157 patients, which is the largest vehicle controlled double blind study that’s ever been conducted in vitiligo to see if it would help patients repugnant, particularly on the face. After six months about half the patients and the two highest doses of ruxolitnib cream re-pigmented quite well on the face. We’re also optimistic that with continued use, so when you hit the year mark and beyond, that there’ll be even more patients who re-pigment significantly.” Dr. Rosmarin says the Phase 3 trial will be larger and is set to start in the winter. Side effects include redness or a slight burning sensation.
(Source: David Rosmarin, MD)
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS REPORT, PLEASE CONTACT:
Jeremy Lechan, PR Tufts Medical Center
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