Early Repigmentation of Stable Vitiligo through Point-of-Care Melanocyte Transfer Using Non-Cultured Autologous Skin Cell Suspension

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Malini Madhusudhan


melanocyte transfer, autologous skin cell suspension, Vitiligo, procedure, cellular grafting, repigmentation, non-cultured skin cell suspension, autologous cell transfer, recell


Introduction: Vitiligo is an acquired depigmenting skin condition characterized by the loss of skin pigmentation, impacting 0.5% to 2% of the global population.1,2 Vitiligo presents as distinct depigmented patches resulting from autoimmune melanocyte destruction. Individuals with visual vitiligo lesions often experience negative body image, diminished self-confidence, discomfort, and overall lower quality of life (QoL).3 While there are medical treatment options available, these can be associated with poor efficacy and low medication compliance.4 Residual lesions after treatment may require surgical intervention which allows for melanocyte transplantation from an area that is pigmented to one that is lacking functional melanocytes. Through a point-of-care device, a non-cultured autologous skin cell suspension (ACSC) can be prepared using a small skin sample; the ASCS contains healthy melanocytes and is immediately applied onto skin treated with ablative laser to aid in the repigmentation of affected areas. The objective of this study was to evaluate the one-time application of ASCS, with a 1:20 donor to treatment site expansion ratio, for the safe and effective repigmentation of stable vitiligo lesions. 

Methods: A randomized, within-subject controlled, central observer-blinded study was conducted to compare the clinical performance of laser ablation, ASCS, and NB-UVB to NB-UVB alone for repigmentation of stable vitiligo lesions in adults. Subjects received NB-UVB phototherapy on both ASCS-treated and controlled lesions as per recommended by the Vitiligo Working Group. Repigmentation of ASCS-treated and control lesions were categorized by a Central Review Committee (CRC) of blinded dermatologists as one of the following: 0%-25%, 26%-50%, 51%-79%, or 80-100%. The primary effectiveness endpoint was defined as the proportion of lesions achieving ≥80% repigmentation for ASCS-treated versus control areas at Week 24. Early regimentation was assessed at Weeks 4 and 12 as a post hoc analysis.

Results: A significantly higher proportion of the ASCS-treated areas (36.0%, n = 9) compared to control-treated areas (0.0%) attained ≥80% repigmentation at Week 24 (P = 0.012). At Week 4, 30.4% (n = 7/23) of ASCS-treated areas had ≥26% repigmentation compared to 4.3% (n = 1/23) in the control areas. At Week 12, 56.5% (n = 13/23) of ASCS-treated areas had ≥26% repigmentation compared to 21.7% (n = 5/23) in the control areas. At Week 24, 64% (n = 16/25) of ASCS-treated areas had ≥26% repigmentation compared to 28% (n = 7/25) in the control areas.

Conclusion: A one-time treatment of ASCS, with the addition of NB-UVB, can result in excellent repigmentation results by 24 weeks, with most subjects seeing ≥26% repigmentation as early as 4 to 12 weeks.


1. Kruger C, et al. International Journal of Dermatology. (2012) 51, 1206-1212. 

2. Daniel B, et al. Australasian Journal of Dermatology. (2012) 56, 85-92. 

3. Baidya S, et al. Ind Psychiatry J. 2021 Jan-Jun;30(1):62-66.

4. Fatima S, et al. Int J Dermatol. 2023 Mar;62(3):279-289.