Seemal Desai, MD: Advancements in Vitiligo Therapies

New therapies are breaking ground in the world of vitiligo research, which Dr. Desai believes will result in FDA approvals in the coming years.

The available data on vitiligo has grown considerably in recent years with the arrival of new therapies and treatment strategies. What was once an underdeveloped area of study has since become home to a surprising amount of new data.

In an interview with HCPLive, Seemal Desai, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, spoke of recent developments in the world of vitiligo research.

“I would say that it's a really exciting time for vitiligo; there's so many new therapeutic options that are in the pipelines, particularly with the Janus kinase inhibitor family of drugs,” Desai said. “There's also research being done on IL-15-based therapy, and other immunotherapies potentially related to some of the markers associated with the inflammation of vitiligo.”

Desai was hopeful that patients with vitiligo would see a myriad of FDA approved therapies in the coming years. Of the topical therapies that have been studied lately, he touched on phase 3 data presented at EADV that detailed promising results from topical ruxolitinib 1.5% cream.

Though the topical JAK inhibitor had only been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for atopic dermatitis, data published regarding vitiligo has been very positive.

“So that's probably the most exciting topical that we're on the cusp of getting access to for our patients,” Desai said. “We use that currently in my practice off label as a topical compounded medication that can be made but having an FDA approval and an FDA approved formulation will be really, really exciting.”

Additionally, Desai considered ultraviolet therapy to be an important part of a board-certified dermatologists “therapeutic armament”, citing total body phototherapy with narrowband UVB light as well as targeted phototherapy with an excimer laser.

“We use both of those extensively in my practice, and vitiligo is one of those diseases where you really need a combination therapeutic approach,” Desai said. “You know, it's not just photo therapy or just a topical or just an antioxidant. The more you do, the more you combine those, the more effective it becomes over time.”

To hear more from Dr. Desai, watch the video above.