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"Speaking of Vitiligo..."

I am a physician-scientist who focuses my clinical and research efforts on vitiligoI am a physician-scientist who focuses my clinical and research efforts on vitiligo, and therefore I think about this disease a lot – all the time, in fact. Therefore I thought it would be helpful to share my thoughts with others who are interested in vitiligo as well, particularly the patients who suffer from it and their loved ones. I want to make clear that while I am affiliated with many vitiligo organizations, my comments in this blog are my own, and do not reflect the opinions of those organizations. In addition, my research is largely focused on finding new treatments, and ultimately a cure, for vitiligo. This work is supported by a number of sources, including pharmaceutical companies, which by definition creates potential conflicts of interest. In full disclosure, here is a list of our vitiligo research supporters. Please know that, to the best of my ability, all of my comments are unbiased reflections of my understanding of vitiligo as both a physician and scientist. I do not permit advertisements on my website, and do not endorse companies or products that may advertise on other sites that may be referenced here.

Phase 3 vitiligo clinical trial results to test topical ruxolitinib as a new treatment

Posted On: Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Incyte decided to run a Phase 3 Clinical Trial in over 600 patients all over the world, with the goal of supporting an application to the FDA (and the European equivalent, the EMA) to approve the treatment for patients. This means it would be available for prescription from the pharmacy, and should be covered by health insurance companies, as it would become the first and only FDA-approved treatment to reverse the effects of vitiligo! Well, we recently heard (although the data isn’t publicly available yet) that the results of the Phase 3 trial were excellent!

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Put YOUR name and picture in our vitiligo lab - thank you to our supporters!

Posted On: Friday, June 11, 2021

As a THANK YOU to all who have supported us over the past few years, we decided to name some of the equipment that we recently purchased using your donations after the donors who sent us some, actually any, amount of funding. We needed this equipment because our older stuff was either broken, or otherwise slowing us down. So, if you sent us ANYTHING, from $1 to much, much more, we put your name in a virtual hat and randomly selected names (and sometimes pictures, depending on the wishes of the donor) to put on 4 pieces of large equipment that we recently purchased for our lab.

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COVID Vaccination and Vitiligo

Posted On: Saturday, January 02, 2021


2020 was a difficult year for so many of us, with COVID-19 creating a pandemic that we have not seen for over 100 years. In the spring, many wondered how having vitiligo would influence the effect of the virus, such as getting more severe effects from the virus, or whether vitiligo might get worse during an infection with it.

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Patterns of Vitiligo

Posted On: Friday, May 29, 2020

I have always thought that vitiligo was beautiful, including the many patterns that form on individuals with different skin colors, shades, and hues. Vitiligo can appear on any part of the body, in many different shapes and forms. It is most frequent on the face and genitals, then the hands and feet, and then the rest of the body. One woman outlined all of her spots with a pen, which I thought was really cool and I included her picture in my blog about vitiligo and tattoos here (with her permission, of course). Since I have seen many patients over many thousands of visits in my Vitiligo Clinic, I have seen a LOT of patterns, but I still see new ones all the time. It’s one of the things that makes my job a whole lot of fun!

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Coronavirus and vitiligo

Posted On: Saturday, March 14, 2020

Many are asking me whether individuals with vitiligo are at higher risk for contracting the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, which is responsible for an ongoing pandemic. In general, the answer is no. I figured that I would take the time to write this blog while I and my family are “socially distancing” ourselves in order to slow the spread of the pandemic in our little part of the world. So, we’re stuck in our house and thinking about everyone out there who is worried about what this pandemic means for them and their loved ones. Read more...

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What is Villaris Therapeutics and how will it help my vitiligo?

Posted On: Friday, February 07, 2020

I recently had the opportunity to start a new company entirely focused on developing a new treatment for vitiligo. We named the company Villaris Therapeutics, and the name was the concept of the board members, not me. I say that because it incorporates my last name, Harris, and I want it to be clear that it wasn’t my idea, although I am honored by it. Truth is, the long list of names I came up with for the company were either already taken, or weren’t that good, to be honest. So here we are, Villaris Therapeutics, which stands for VItiligo, IL-15, and HARrIS. Now that’s out of the way, I’ll tell you a little more about the process of getting funding for the company, the team we assembled to lead it, and our mission....

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Maybe it’s NOT vitiligo!

Posted On: Monday, January 20, 2020

Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease of the skin that causes white spots. It’s pretty distinctive and is frequently diagnosed by a dermatologist simply by looking at it, often with the aid of a special light called a Wood’s lamp. But I’ve seen patients in my Vitiligo Clinic, some who’ve traveled a very long distance (even other countries), who didn’t actually have vitiligo...

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Update on IL-15 vitiligo treatment

Posted On: Monday, January 13, 2020

Many have asked recently for an update about the treatment to target IL-15 to induce durable responses in patients with vitiligo. There was a lot of excitement around this approach when we published our paper about a year and a half ago in the summer of 2018 (read about it here), especially from me! The idea was that autoimmune memory cells form within vitiligo spots and are responsible for the return of disease at those exact same spots when treatments are stopped...

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Happy New Year!

Posted On: Tuesday, December 31, 2019

As 2019 winds to a close, I am reflecting on everything that has happened in the past year, and it’s almost too much to name! At the risk of sounding like my Thanksgiving post, there is much to be thankful for. I celebrated Christmas with my family and friends, and as always, they asked, “How’s the lab?” and “How’s work?”. The answer was a resounding, “Everything is great!”, and I meant it. Here’s why..

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Incyte topical ruxolitinib phase II trial – 52-week results

Posted On: Monday, December 30, 2019

I previously wrote a blog to give the details of a Phase II, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial to test topical ruxolitinib cream as a treatment for vitiligo. The trial was sponsored by the pharmaceutical company Incyte and recruited 157 patients from 26 sites all over the US. There I provided the 24-week results, while this post will serve to update everyone on the continued improvement up to 52 weeks, or 1 year.

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