Melanocyte-keratinocyte transplantation (MKTP) provides long-term benefits for restoring skin pigmentation caused by vitiligo, report researchers from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
“MKTP works and it lasts a long time,” says Iltefat Hamzavi, M.D., a Henry Ford dermatologist and the study’s senior author and principal investigator, in a news release. “It’s better than any technology we have to treat this condition.”
The study, which appears in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, is believed to be the first in the United States to evaluate MKTP’s long-term benefit.
Researchers analyzed repigmentation results in 63 vitiligo patients who underwent MKTP between January 2009 and April 2014. A majority of areas of the skin treated with surgery still had “very good to excellent” color match pigmentation five years later. Treated areas included the face, neck, hands, torso, legs and feet. Skin type, age and location of the vitiligo had no significant effect on the outcome of the repigmentation, the study showed.
- 71 percent repigmentation was maintained in 45 segmental vitiligo lesions five years after surgery.
- 64 percent repigmentation was maintained in 90 nonsegmental vitiligo lesions five years after surgery.
- 75 percent repigmentation was maintained in all vitiligo lesions at two, four and five years after surgery.
In 2009 Henry Ford became the first hospital in North America to perform MKTP. Its benchmark research published in the Archives of Dermatology found that MKTP was safe and effective for treating vitiligo, for which there is no cure. It also demonstrated the potential for restoring pigmentation – in eight patients with a specific type of vitiligo, the treated area regained on average 74 percent of its natural skin color after six months.
“We were the first North America center to show it works. Now we can show that not only does it work, it lasts for years in a majority of patients,” Dr. Hamzavi says.
Since the early years, Dr. Hamzavi and his team have refined MKTP’s technique to maximize the potential for repigmentation. Most notable is that a laser is now used for removing the white vitiligo lesions and prepping it to receive the healthy melanocyte cells. Previously, doctors used a dermabrader. Also, more superior dressings bring improved comfort to patients.
“If you pick the right patient, do the procedure properly – the majority of patients will maintain their color,” Dr. Hamzavi says of MKTP.
The study was funded by Henry Ford’s Department of Dermatology.