Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder in which some of your body’s immune cells, called T cells, attack melanocytes (the pigment producing cells in the skin). This leads to patches of skin depigmentation (loss of normal skin color).
Scientists believe that specific T cells, called tissue resident memory T cells (Trm), are involved in the attack on melanocytes. Trm cells depend on the chemical signal IL-15. Therefore, scientists believe that interrupting the IL-15 signal might lead to a decrease in Trm cells, which might make vitiligo better.
There are no FDA-approved medical treatments that make vitiligo better. Common therapies used to reverse lost skin color in vitiligo include ultraviolet B (UVB) phototherapy and topical creams. These therapies do not work for everyone and, even when they are helpful, they often need to be continued in order to maintain the beneficial effect. Therefore, better therapies for vitiligo are needed.