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Vitiligo is an auto-immune condition that occurs in as much as 1% of the U.S. population and is characterized by the loss of natural skin color or discolored patches on various parts of the body, including hair and mucous membranes. The cause of vitiligo is unknown but results when the skin’s pigment producing cells (melanocytes) are targeted by the body’s immune system. Vitiligo often starts on the hands, feet, or face and is typically progressive. It is a skin disease that affects people of all skin types but may be more noticeable in people with darker skin. Because of the effect on the person’s appearance, vitiligo can be life-altering and can have a substantial negative impact on the psychological well-being of patients and reduce quality of life. Vitiligo can lead to a poor body image, causing individuals to feel embarrassed or anxious about their skin and withdraw from social activities.
At this point in time, there are no FDA-approved treatments for vitiligo, so patients are often treated with off-label combinations of steroids, TCIs, ultraviolet light and lasers. As such, there is great unmet need for therapies that are more effective and less limiting than currently available treatment modalities.