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Vitiligo vs. Melanoma

One man's meat is another man's poison.
  [vote for,

Metastatic melanoma is brutal. Once melanoma has recurred, there are really no good effective treatments to slow its spread through the body. People with metastatic melanoma have a life expectancy of only a few months.
Vitiligo is a poorly understood disease of the skin in which pigmented cells are attached by the immune system, leaving white, depigmented patches. This can by quite disfiguring, especially for dark complected people who may develop irregular white patches on their faces. Treatment usually consists of immune suppression. Interesting,y effective immune treatments for melanoma sometimes cause vitiligo in the melanoma patients.
I propose that the immune reponse in vitiligo patients be directly harnessed for the treatment of melanoma patients. The beauty of this is that the process need not be completely understood to be useful. Patients with severe vitiligo will donate plasma in the normal way, and from this will be made concentrated gamma globulin - possibly pooled from several (HIV negative, of course) vitiligo patients. Melanoma patients would then be periodically treated with this vitiligo globulin and followed to see if their disease lesions shrink. If this process turns out to be effective, the vitiligo globulin could be studied further to better understand and enhance the active principles.
bungston, May 23 2003

Vitiligo http://www.niams.ni...tiligo/vitiligo.htm
[bungston, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Vitiligo pics http://dermatlas.me...lt.cfm?Diagnosis=45
[bungston, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Metastatic melanoma http://www.nci.nih....sional/#Section_145
[bungston, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       Sounds like it's got to be worth a try. +
saker, May 23 2003

       [Reensure], please fix that link. So: what might be needed is some sort of localized though not necessarily toxic intervention on the melanoma areas to focus vitiligo immunity on them, in the same way a bacterial or other irritation then focuses autoimmunity on an area.
bungston, May 23 2003

       I'm a walking world atlas, due to vitiligo. I love my spots. One knee is a map of Australia, the other is India. The Hawaiian Islands occupy my right elbow, and Malaysia can be found near my pelvis bone on my right side. The oddest one is a ring on my chest with a mole right in the middle of it.
RayfordSteele, May 23 2003

       Impact crater?
waugsqueke, May 23 2003

       Ray - you are a work of art, we have always known it.
po, May 23 2003

       RSteele - your story is somewhat discouraging to me, since your vitiligo doesnt even seem to be capable of destroying a benign mole. I wonder if the vitiliginous zone of destruction around that mole would increase if you took some sort of immune-stimulating treatment?
bungston, May 25 2003

       //Got one in mind?//   

       A very good question. I am not sure what can be done to stimulate humoral (antibody-mediated) immunity - and if this idea is to work there must be antibody mediated immunity causing vitiligo. Usual antimelanoma immunotherapies rely on T cells - things like interleukin 2 or BCG vaccination.
bungston, Jun 09 2003


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