In autoimmune diseases, like vitiligo, the over-protective body's immune system mistakenly attacks stressed-out cells, believing them to be intruders. Specialized ‘killer’ T-cells neutralize these ‘enemies’ - driving autoimmune response and, with it, progressive skin depigmentation.
Current treatments for autoimmune conditions rely on inactivating the 'crazy' immune cells that mistakenly identify and attack the body's own healthy cells. However, a major downside of existing therapies is that they may end up inactivating not just the specific immune cells causing the damage, but also other immune cells that are functioning normally. In case of vitiligo, this would leave the skin exposed to all kinds of diseases and infections.
A new research paper recently published in Nature Biomedical Engineering demonstrate the possibility of deactivating only rogue immune cells, while preserving normal immune cells so they can continue to do their job. The work of a team from University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City focuses on programmed cell death protein cells that play a key role in regulating the immune response. The researchers tested the new approach in a mouse model of diabetes type I and multiple sclerosis, and saw encouraging results. The lead researcher of the study, Peng Zhao, Ph.D., says "If we can generate the human version of therapeutics, I think we could make a huge impact in treating an autoimmune disease."
- How can I cure vitiligo?
There is no cure for vitiligo, but there are a number of effective treatment options that can be discussed with your GP or dermatologist. The aim of treatment is to stop new pat...
- Are there any famous people with vitiligo?
Many celebrities have dealt with vitiligo while remaining in the public eye, maintaining a positive outlook, and having a successful career. Here are a few courageous famous peo...
- What causes vitiligo?
Surprisingly, the causes of vitiligo are yet to be precisely established. Researchers know the cause is pre-wired in your genes, just waiting for a bad luck moment. In about hal...
Our work is entirely funded by private donations – we receive no money from government. Your money will help us continue funding research into vitiligo and supporting people affected by the condition.
Though it is not always easy to treat vitiligo, there is much to be gained by clearly understanding the diagnosis, the future implications, treatment options and their outcomes.
Many people deal with vitiligo while remaining in the public eye, maintaining a positive outlook, and having a successful career.Copyright (C) Bodolóczki Júlia
By taking a little time to fill in the anonymous questionnaire, you can help researchers better understand and fight vitiligo.