MEDICINE Professor Thierry Passeron, head of the dermatology department at the University Hospital of Nice, was part of the team of experts who made it possible to develop a treatment for people with vitiligo
Enam Heikeens, suffering from vitiligo, is a model after having long suffered from ridicule because of her disease — SIPA
- With more one million people affected by vitiligo in France, Professor Thierry Passeron, dermatologist at the University Hospital of Nice, believes that it is “essential” to advance research for a treatment.
- He is also part of an international team whose cream to repigment the skin has just been validated by the American Medicines Agency.
- This is the first time that a treatment has been validated by this institution. It is in the process of being authorized by the European agency.
Vitiligo, this disease in which the immune system destroys the pigments of the skin, has long remained. unknown. However, it affects nearly 2% of the world's population, including one million people in France. “It’s therefore important to find solutions to treat it,”says Professor Thierry Passeron, head of the dermatology department at the Nice University Hospital. He is part of an international group of experts who have developed a treatment for repigmentation of the skin, the first approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the American drug agency, and which should be authorized by the European agency “end 2023” with “reimbursement by health insurance the following months”, says the specialist.
Professor Thierry Passeron – T. Passeron
Nice's participation in such a project is “exceptional” because “few French people are part of it” but historically, the CHU has always been involved. “Professor Jean-Paul Ortonne, considered that the father of the Nice dermatology department, was one of the pioneers of research on vitiligo in France and he passed on his will to me. to know, develops Professor Thierry Passeron. Which means that today, Nice is a recognized international hub on the subject, along with Créteil and Bordeaux.”
Complete repigmentation for the face
Trials of this cream, called Opzelura (ruxolitinib), have been conducted. facts about 600 adults and children over the age of twelve with vitiligo. “Two major international studies have confirmed its effectiveness, especially on the face, emphasizes the professor. Thus, with an application twice a day, for six & agrave; twenty-four months, repigmentation is complete. We observed stability positive results but, if ever the vitiligo persists, it is possible to redo the treatment,” says the researcher.
In addition, this cream “is very well tolerated” in patients and “does not require a blood test,” insists the dermatologist. He nevertheless indicates that “certain areas are difficult to clean. repigment, like the feet or the hands.” This is what further trials are being conducted on. “At the very beginning of next year, in our institute in Nice, we will continue our studies on the transplantation of melanocytes in these areas by combining with the treatment ruxolitinib, developed he. We also know that it is necessary to associate the treatment with UV rays to restore color to the skin.” It is also working on tests to enable treatment for children as young as six.
A website with the latest information
If all these treatments seem “heavy” and long, it”s “nothing” compared to what some people with vitiligo can experience. “Patients are really motivated, sometimes they come from far away to get our solutions. We sometimes underestimate the burden of this disease. It is far from being benign, in particular on the impact it can have on the quality of the product. life of patients, in the professional sector, in their social or affective life. And most doctors, 70% in France, estimated up to for a short time nothing could be done. From now on, we have better control of the subject. It’s therefore essential to provide solutions for these people who suffer from it.”
The expert takes the opportunity to “silence the Misconceptions””: “Patients with vitiligo do not have an increased risk of getting skin cancer. And it’s not an inherited condition. In 90% of cases, the genetic background is never transmitted, as with other autoimmune diseases.” He adds: “She’s absolutely not contagious.” A website has been created for all the latest information at; this topic.