SHORT HILLS, N.J. -- A new cream can clear almost
all traces of vitiligo from the hands and faces of over half of the
patients with the disorder, Dr. Karin U. Schallreuter said at a
conference on cosmeceuticals sponsored by International Business
Dr. Schallreuter, professor of clinical and experimental dermatology
at the University of Bradford in West Yorkshire, England, and her
colleagues have developed a patented cream, pseudocatalase, which in
combination with calcium has achieved very high success rates in
The pseudocatalase cream only works in about 60% of Vitiligo patients,
but in these patients, a treatment regimen combining pseudocatalase
and calcium is up to 95% effective in clearing affected hands and
faces, Dr. Schallreuter said.
She has treated 220 patients with this regimen. Pseudocatalase is not
yet available. (webmaster's note: at this time, Pseudocatalase IS
available in Europe and the United States, and more patients have been
treated with it.)
It remains unclear which patients are candidates for pseudocatalase,
Dr. Schallreuter added.
Current vitiligo treatments, including psoralens plus ultraviolet A
radiation and steroids, very infrequently reach a significant efficacy
rate, she noted.
Previous studies have indicated high levels of oxidative stress and
low levels of epidermal catalase in the skin of patients with
vitiligo. Pseudocatalase prevents oxidative stress in vitiliginous
skin, she explained.
Dr. Schallreuter and her colleagues obtained punch biopsies from the
involved and uninvolved skin of 18 vitiligo patients who were randomly
selected before treatment with pseudocatalase; biopsies also were
taken 6 and 12 months after treatment.
Patients applied pseudocatalase cream twice daily and were exposed
to the sun or to a narrow band of ultraviolet B radiation twice a
Pseudocatalase reduced epidermal hydrogen peroxide in vitiliginous
skin within 2 minutes at a rate 15 times faster than natural catalase.
It also prevented vacuolation in melanocytes and keratinocytes and
increased the number of functioning melanocytes in the involved
epidermis, she said.
Hailed by some as the cure for vitiligo, Dr. Schallreuter takes a more
realistic view. "Pseudocatalase will be a substitutional therapy, not
Pseudocatalase also may have applications in other skin disorders, she
said. For example, in one patient with xeroderma pigmentosum, it
significantly reduced de novo actinic keratoses, basal cell
carcinomas, and squamous cell carcinomas when applied topically over
the entire body over a period of a year.