Iran ‘revolutionizes vitiligo treatment’
Iranian Scientists with the Royan Research Center have successfully treated a skin disease using patients’ own pigment producing cells.
Saeed Shafiyan, a dermatologist with the research team, has told IRIB that the new technique removes vitiligo lesions in less than 6 months, much shorter than other available methods.
He explained that in this technique melanocyte cells were taken from an intact area and injected after the epidermis layer was separated. In this technique, there is no need to abrade the skin or expose the patient to ultra violet radiation.
The researcher said two third of vitiligo patients are cured using available treatments while the new method is believed to be promising in the remnant one third.
Update: October 2017
Recently, we introduced intralesional injection of autologous epidermal cells as a safe and feasible approach for transplantation in patients with stable vitiligo. This approach resulted in less pain during and after the procedure, no scarring or cobblestone formation at the recipient site, and was more feasible to perform on curved surfaces such as joints, lips, eyelids, ears, and face.
In this study, we aimed to investigate the long-term efficacy and safety of this transplantation technique.
In this open-label and single-arm clinical trial, we enrolled 300 patients with stable vitiligo. We obtained a partial thickness normo-pigmented skin specimen from the patients’ thigh-buttock junction with an area of one tenth to one third of the recipient site area. The epidermal cell suspension was prepared by processing the autologous skin specimen. We injected the cell suspension into 1060 vitiligo patches in 300 patients. Patients did not use any adjuvant phototherapy during the study. An experienced dermatologist and patients respectively defined the repigmentation score and self-assessment score at regular follow-up visits for up to 30 months after treatment. The scores represented the repigmentation percentage as follows: 0 (0), I (1%-24%), II (25%-49%), III (50%-74%), and IV (75%-100%).
The mean repigmentation score at 3 months post-transplantation was 1.12±0.73. A significant upward trend existed in the mean repigmentation score until 9 months after cell transplantation, when the mean repigmentation score reached to 1.98±1.20. At 9 months after treatment, repigmentation of >50% was obtained in 32.2% of treated patches. Acquired repigmentation remained stable in 79.3% of treated patches during the follow-up period. The number of received cells per cm2 positively influenced the repigmentation score. Patches located on face, neck and trunk showed significantly higher response to the treatment.
The results of our study demonstrated efficacy and safety of autologus epidermal cell transplantation on repigmentation of vitiligo patches. The achieved repigmentation was stable in the majority of treated patches during the follow-up period.
Copyright © 2017 Japanese Society for Investigative Dermatology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Cell therapy; Cell transplantation; Clinical trial; Melanocyte; Regenerative medicine; Vitiligo