Vitiligo research and treatment methods have made considerable advancements in this decade. Vitiligo research is focused on repigmentation with melanocytes, stem cell transplantation and genetics of vitiligo.
Vitiligo research on autologous melanocyte transplantationAutologous melanocyte transplantation is being done by harvesting the normal melanocytes of the patient and transplanting them on to the affected skin area.
Very good results are being seen after 6 months with more than 90% success.
Further research is being done to improve on the bio-technology and the methodology for the transplantation.
Comparative evaluation of direct melanocyte transplant versus cultured melanocyte transplant is being made.
Vitiligo research on transplantation of melanocyte stem cells from hair follicleIn this new area of vitiligo research, ways to overcome the limitations in autologous melanocyte transplantation are being probed.
The limitations are in invasive tissue sampling and in cumbersome melanocyte extraction and culture procedures.
It is found that the hair follicle melanocytes apart from migrating up a hair follicle and giving it colour, are also capable of moving out to the surrounding melanin deficient epidermis.
Further it is found that undifferentiated melanocytes or stem cells are present in the outer root sheath of hair follicle.
The transplantation of these stem cells will repopulate the deficient skin with active melanocytes. This area requires further investigation and refining.
Vitiligo research on stimulating deeper perifollicular melanocytes by focused ultraviolet B rays of 311 (nm) with optic fibreIn the UVB therapy for leucoderma further strides have been made on the delivery of the rays. General exposure has been found to hasten the photo-aging of the skin.
In the latest method now being used and perfected is the apt selection of the required wavelength of Uv rays and its delivery mechanism.
Instead of generalised exposure of the affected area with the UVB rays, filters and methods are being evolved to only deliver UVB rays of 311[nm] and reduce the ill-effects of the full spectrum.
Further it is found that the melanocytes in the deeper perifollicular area are not affected by the causative factors of vitiligo.
These dormant melanocytes are selectively stimulated to proliferate and produce melanin.
The UVB rays are delivered by a optic fibre with control for the extent and duration of exposure.
Vitiligo research on genetic predisposition to the diseaseResearch is in progress to identify the deregulated genes giving rise to depigmentation.
About 800 genes have been identified for the hereditary affliction of this disorder.
The genetic association of this disorder with inflammatory diseases and autoimmune diseases is being probed.