Are all white spots vitiligo?
No. Although one of the most common causes of white spots is vitiligo; however, it does not include all cases. Many other diseases, including skin changes following inflammatory conditions and some congenital moles, can be other causes of this type of skin discolouration.
What is cell therapy, and is there a history of its use in skin diseases? In this treatment, injured and defective cells are replaced by healthy and functional cells. Cell therapy in vitiligo has been performed in Iran since 2006 and in the world since 1995.
What kinds of cells are used in the treatment of vitiligo?
Because melanocytes are destroyed in vitiligo, for treatments, healthy melanocyte replacement cells are used, which is obtained by taking a sample from healthy areas of the skin.
Is it necessary to culture the cells before injection?
If the vitiligo lesions are small, there is no need for a large number of melanocyte cells to be proliferated and cultured. But, if the vitiligo lesions are severe, cell culture is required to reproduce the cells.
Who can use melanocyte transplant for the treatment of vitiligo?
- Patients with vitiligo of any kind whose disease has been proven
- Patients above 12 years of age
- People whose illness has remained constant for at least a year, meaning that the number and size of lesions have remained constant.
- People who have not been given immunosuppressive and cytotoxic drugs for at least six months before referral.
- Pregnant patients, patients with a history of underlying diseases and special cases are not treated with this method.
Are there any side effects when a sample is taken from the skin in order to obtain melanocyte cells?
Sampling from the upper layer of the buttocks is usually performed under local anesthesia and does not pose a particular problem for the patient.
What is the treatment for melanocyte cells, and does the patient need to be hospitalized?
In this method, after selecting the patient and taking a sample from the healthy areas of the skin, the samples are immediately transferred to the laboratory, which will be held under completely sterile conditions. Afterwards, the skin cells are removed from the tissue, and one day after sampling the cells are sent for the injection. The treatment process will be performed based on an outpatient basis and does not require hospitalization.
What are the results of melanocyte transplantation?
Typically, 60% of patients have a reasonable or satisfactory response to this treatment, but in 40% of patients, the response is negligible or zero. The highest response rate was seen on the face and neck, followed by the trunk and limbs. Having said that, the success rate of this treatment may vary from person to person.
Are there any side effects from melanocyte transplantation?
This procedure is entirely safe and has no side effects for the patient. Because the cells have the same origin, transplant rejection will not occur.
Does nutrition play a significant role in the emergence, persistence or improvement of the disease?
So far, the role of nutrition in this disease has not been well established scientifically.
Can Vitiligo disease go away on its own?
Yes, in 20% of cases, the disease may improve on its own without any treatment.
Does cell therapy apply to other white spots?
Many other colourless or pale skin blemishes may be treated with this method, but it needs to be checked by a doctor.
Is there a need for medication or phototherapy after cell therapy?
Depending on the clinical and laboratory conditions, some patients are prescribed to have medication or phototherapy after transplantation,