Roundtable on Vitiligo

RECENT UPDATE: Overview report and photos by Prof. Robert A. Schwartz, LSTF and CEO RT reports

BACKGROUND

The Roundtable on Vitiligo was hosted within the framework of 1st Winter Consensus Conference of the World Health Academy. It continues the legacy of the World Vitiligo Symposium (2011) and the World Vitiligo Day (2012) campaign.

IN BRIEF

Img 2605 1This inaugural international event was held on December 13-15, 2012 in historic Kitzbühel.  Congress President Medhat Abdelmalek (Jordan), World Health Academy (WHA) President Robert A. Schwartz (USA), and WHA Secretary-General Torello M. Lotti (Italy) greeted eager participants from around the globe, assisted by Nobel Prize winners Kurt Wüthrich (Chemistry) and Charles H. Townes (Physics) and by Honorary Congress Presidents Klaus Wolff (Austria) and Hong-Duo Chen (China).

The program was impeccable. Attendees were inspired by Nobel Laureates: Kurt Wüthrich’s lecture on a multi-disciplinary structural biology approach to G-protein-coupled receptors as drug targets, and by Charles H. Townes’ one emphasizing the compatibility of science and religion.

Under the chairmanship of Prof. Robert Schwartz participants have covered the broad spectrum of issues related to vitiligo, from genetics to efficiency of various experimental treatments and “soon to be introduced” treatments.

Lectures were invariably stellar. Torello M. Lotti (Italy) illuminated advances, summarized what's new and what's valid in vitiligo research. Richard Spritz (USA) focused on genetics of vitiligo and hypothesized that vitiligo may represent a dysregulation of the body’s surveillance for melanoma. Youwen Zhou (Canada) noted that, in a large-scale study of the molecular markers of vitiligo skin microenvironment, abnormal activation of the innate immunity was found, not only in the depigmented lesional skin, but also in the normal-appearing non-lesional skin of vitiligo patients. Targeting innate immune activation may be a potential strategy for developing vitiligo therapies in the future. John E. Harris (USA) evinced that melanocyte stress and autoimmunity, thought to be mutually exclusive theories about vitiligo pathogenesis, now appear to cooperate as both contribute to depigmentation in chemically-induced vitiligo; he has also reflected recent observations in chemical leukoderma. Jacek Szepietowski (Poland) characterized psychological aspects of vitiligo, first linked by his famous predecessor, Albert Neisser (1855-1916). Klaus Wolff (Austria). Brian W. Lee (USA) focused upon critical targets for vitiligo phototherapy. Andy Goren (USA) covered photobiology and photochemistry. Antonio Salafia (India) has found dapsone and vitamin B6 to be among the most suitable antioxidants in treating vitiligo. Igor Korobko (Russia) presented report on the Golden Standard in Biobanking for Rare Diseases and later analyzed repigmentation failure in vitiligo patients. Davinder Parsad (India) advocated treating vitiligo as an autoimmune disorder. Yan Valle (Canada) launched discussion on how to facilitate the uptake of vitiligo therapies in health systems. The pivotal contributions of Vitiligo Research Foundation Founder and President Dmitry Aksenov (Russia) and Chief Executive Officer Yan Valle (Canada) were recognized by special awards.

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or see PHOTOS from this outstanding event.

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Date: December 14, 2012
Venue: Winter Consensus Conference of Dermatology of the World Health Academy
Place: Hotel Kempinsky, Kitzbühel, Austria.

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