Autologous skin transplants lessen vitiligo discoloration

June 6, 2012

Researchers from the Henry Ford Health System suggest transplants of healthy skin from a patient’s own body can improve discoloration caused by vitiligo.

Detroit - Researchers from the Henry Ford Health System suggest transplants of healthy skin from a patient’s own body can improve discoloration caused by vitiligo.

The procedure, called melanocyte-keratinocytes transplantation (MKTP), was developed by Sanjeev Mulekar, M.D., of the National Vitiligo Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Researchers with Henry Ford Health System are the first U.S. team to attempt it, according to dermatologist and study author Iltefat Hamzavi, M.D., who told the Times that though the study involved only about 30 patients, the pilot trial suggests the procedure could be beneficial to many.

The procedure involves collecting melanocyte cells from a healthy area of the skin, making them into a paste and applying them to the treatment area with a specially developed adhesive biologic dressing.

In the Ford study, Dr. Hamzavi and colleagues treated 28 patients ages 18 to 60. Most patients had one area treated; four had two areas; and one patient had three areas treated. The procedures took from 30 minutes to two hours, and patients went home the same day. The average size of the treated area was about the size of a credit card.

The researchers report that on average, the treated areas regained about 43 percent of their color within six months. In patients with localized vitiligo, the treated areas regained about 68 percent of their natural color.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

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