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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.

Patterns of Vitiligo

Posted On: Friday, May 29, 2020 Posted By: John E. Harris Tags: Vitiligo, Vitiligo Research, Vitiligo Treatment

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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IN HER WORDS – Erika Page

Posted On: Thursday, May 21, 2020 Posted By: Erika Page Tags: Living with vitiligo, Vitiligo

This is the 3rd in a series of blog posts I’m calling IN HER WORDS, and today will focus on Erika Page. Erika has vitiligo, and she is passionate about bringing people together to create a strong community of support. She writes a blog called Living Dappled, and if you haven’t already, I encourage you to check it out here. As she describes it, Living Dappled is a vitiligo blog and lifestyle guide catering mostly to girls and women with the condition. Erika is a great writer, capturing the essence of her subject, connecting people with vitiligo all over the world, and fact-checking her content to make sure she gets it right! She shares beautiful photos of her subjects with vitiligo and gets their stories about living with it. I think Erika has been a wonderful addition to the vitiligo community and a great resource for those with vitiligo. I wanted to give you a chance to get to know her a bit here.

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IN HIS WORDS – Eric Peacock

Posted On: Friday, May 15, 2020 Posted By: Eric Peacock Tags: Social network for Vitiligo, Vitiligo

Eric Peacock is the cofounder of MyVitiligoTeam - a fast-growing social network for people facing vitiligo. In just two months after launching, over 2000 people with vitiligo have joined, and hundreds more are joining every month. Eric, who has had vitiligo since he was a child, also happens to be the cofounder and CEO of MyHealthTeams - a mission-driven company that has already created similar social networks in over 30 other chronic conditions.

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IN HER WORDS – Jillian Richmond

Posted On: Monday, May 11, 2020 Posted By: Jillian Richmond Tags: Vitiligo, Vitiligo Research, Vitiligo Treatment

This is the 4th in a series of blog posts I’m calling IN HER WORDS, and today will focus on Dr. Jillian Richmond. Dr. Richmond was a postdoctoral fellow in my lab who discovered that resident memory T cells are responsible for relapse of vitiligo after stopping treatments, and that we could target IL-15 to get rid of them and treat vitiligo. She now is an Assistant Professor in our department, and she’s studying other immune-mediated skin diseases like morphea and lupus. She has her own blog that you can read here. In addition to her research program, she has a family, loves to teach students, and is an advocate for women in STEM! She’s a great model for how to be productive and high-achieving, while maintaining a strong work-life balance. Read more...

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Coronavirus and vitiligo

Posted On: Saturday, March 14, 2020 Posted By: John E. Harris Tags: Vitiligo

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 Posted By: John E. Harris Tags: Vitiligo, Vitiligo Research, Vitiligo Treatment

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 Posted By: John E. Harris Tags: Vitiligo

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 Posted By: John E. Harris Tags: Vitiligo, Vitiligo Research, Vitiligo Treatment

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 Posted By: John E. Harris Tags: Vitiligo, Vitiligo Research, Vitiligo Treatment

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 Posted By: John E. Harris Tags: Vitiligo, Vitiligo Research

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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