Doctors may have found the cure to Vitiligo, a skin disease that results in white patches on various parts of the body.
The new therapy includes oral medication, Xeljanz (an arthritis-treating drug that slows down activities of the immune system) and ultraviolet-B light therapy.
Scientists have tried the treatment on two patients, achieving dramatic results.
“The treatment produces results that are impossible to achieve with common therapies. I think this is a breakthrough in vitiligo treatment,” said Brett King, an associate professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine.
Seemal Desai, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said the new treatment looks promising.
“The immune system is attacking the melanocytes, so they go into hiding. Tofacitinib tells them it’s OK to come out of hiding, and the UV light brings them out of hibernation,” he said.
Vitiligo, a skin disorder which the late Michael Jackson suffered from, can cause hair to lose its pigment and turn white.
It is believed to be an autoimmune condition, which means the immune system mistakenly attacks pigment-producing cells (melanocytes).
Details of the successful treatments were published in the JAMA Dermatology journal released on January 31.