By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: The RS Patents and Intellectual Property Office at Kuwait University registered a new patent for the academic year 2020/2021 entitled "Method for Treating Vitiligo" by Dr Mohammad Al-Ansary, a faculty member and researcher at the Faculty of Medicine at Kuwait University. Kuwait Times spoke with Ansary, who is currently doing research at Durham University in the United Kingdom to learn more about his vitiligo treatment.
Kuwait Times: Tell us more about yourself.
Dr Mohammad Al-Ansary: I'm a medical biochemist, so we do experiments to create new ways of treatments and general health research to promote life. I'm a vitiligo patient myself and that is what drives me to learn and do more research on vitiligo. I was five years old when I got diagnosed with vitiligo. I tried all sorts of treatments available, but a medical dermatologist advised me there is no treatment and I have to live with it.
My vitiligo became more progressive and my mother told me that maybe when you grow up you'll focus on that condition or maybe a treatment. Thank God it came true. I studied to be a medical doctor (MD). But later I understood that MDs are mainly trained to diagnose and advise available treatments, but are not very capable of running laboratory research to find and develop new treatments and medicine.
So, I finished my master's degree at the Faculty of Medicine in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and chose this to be the start of my career. Now I'm a PhD Researcher in omics science and recombinant bimolecular purification (genetically engineered DNA to produce proteins/biological treatments). I've concluded that understanding the engineering of God in how life evolved and varies could help us develop new avenues in research that have potential therapeutics. The secret of biology is there; we just have to discover and learn more to know what to use and how to use it. That requires a lot of dedication and collaboration.
With knowledge, my vitiligo was treated, gaining back more than 80 percent of my color.
KT: Tell us more about your discovery of vitiligo treatment. How does it work?
Dr Ansary: The question was why the current methods of treating vitiligo didn't work on me and others? What can we do to change this? We have to define vitiligo correctly - vitiligo is a recessive multi-genetic and multifactorial disorder that leads to discoloration of the skin (pigment under the skin is not there). The condition is not genetically dominant as most are born healthy and probably may live and die without developing vitiligo (despite having vitiligo genes). It is certainly not contagious and not all white skin patches are diagnosed as vitiligo.
In vitiligo, the color is not present under the skin in some areas, causing a cosmetic issue that for some people might also be a psychological problem, causing stress. Some scientific evidence suggests that vitiligo is an autoimmune problem. Meaning that the immune system attacks melanocytes (cells that are producing the pigment). The question is, do immunosuppressants and immunomodulatory treatments work? Not with all cases but they help (mostly temporarily).
There wasn't a treatment that did less damage until we invented VT treatment - a new two-phase method as a new vitiligo treatment. VT treatment works by enhancing cell pigment with effective plant-based natural photosensitive components that are mixed with components that reduce oxidative damage and other components that help in immunomodulatory effects.
This is followed by another VT Treatment (VT2) that has a variety of specific antioxidants that was used for the first time in treating vitiligo to lower oxidative damage, natural co-factors and co-enzymes that also used for the first time in treating vitiligo to stimulate melanogenesis, tyrosinase action (enzyme producing the color), and heme-oxygenase (an anti-inflammatory enzyme) topically in the area to achieve balance after photosensitivity. Also, some components help increase the topical circulation in the area. Using VT2 alone without radiation also showed results in the trials.
KT: What is the difference between your treatment and others?
Dr Ansary: All antioxidant treatments lack the combined natural components of the VT Treatment plans. VT treatment is the only vitiligo treatment that has the invented patented two-phase method that treats by a combination of selective broadband photosensitive plant-based components with plant-based immunomodulatory components. Following that the second treatment enhances the results by reducing the radiation damaging effect. Our treatment is the only vitiligo treatment that focuses on the natural re-stabilization and normalizing effect of heme-oxygenase pathways in these two-phase separated treatments. We believe we have the best components that enhance tyrosinase action and protect the new melanocytes to enhance re-pigmentation and achieve balance after that.
Our treatment got the trust of vitiligo research foundation in the new vitiligo treatment pipeline published by them. It is one of the first personalized plan treatments in vitiligo because it is available in different concentrations and components that are used based on patient history and treatment-response plans of medical dermatologists. This treatment was developed by scientist academics at university with the collaboration of international medical doctors and experts in natural treatment pharmaceuticals R&D teams.
KT: What is the success rate of this treatment? How effective is it?
Dr Ansary: In generalized vitiligo, more than 90 percent get positive results. With other types of vitiligo, the response rate is more than 80 percent, except with segmental vitiligo, where half of the users show results. Acral vitiligo is challenging but at least most cases continue with VT Treatment as the most effective method.
KT: What are the alarming warning signs that people should watch out for?
Dr Ansary: Not every white spot is vitiligo, but as soon a person notices a white spot, they should seek medical attention.
KT: How is vitiligo diagnosed?
Dr Ansary: By medical dermatologists' observation. There are some medical tools like wood light that can show white spots, even those that are not visible by the naked eye.
KT: Are you working on new treatments?
Dr Ansary: Yes, we are developing new biological treatments and other important products for dermatologists and patients.