On December 4th, Dr. Aziz Ghahari, a professor from University of British Columbia, gave a speech on the principles of commercializing product-oriented ideas in Canada at the Center for Research and Training in Skin Diseases and Leprosy. During his speech, welcomed by a group of professors and assistants from Tehran University of Medical Sciences and knowledge-based companies, Dr. Ghahari talked about commercialization of three ideas regarding wound healing, the experiences of his research group in negotiating with pharmaceutical companies and the role of patent office of University of British Columbia. At the end, accompanied by the CRTSDL head, he visited laboratories of the CRTSDL Center.
World Vitiligo Day has once again swept the globe in a day of celebra- tion aِnd action in support of the estimated 100 million vitiligo suf- ferers worldwide.
Dermatologists are well aware that vitiligo is an underinvestigated, noncommunicable, autoimmune skin disease that affects 1 in every 100 people to some degree; it can strike anyone, at any age. The gen- eral public largely knows that vitiligo causes the skin to lighten in pat- ches across the face aِnd body, aِnd it is incurable; some celebrities have it, but that typically marks the extent of common wisdom. The burden of vitiligo falls particularly hard on developing countries due to misdiagnosis, little or no access to effective treatments, aِnd wide- spread stigmatization aِnd discrimination.
World Vitiligo Day (WVD), which takes place annually on June 25 since 2011, brings this “forgotten” disease into the public eye aِnd is now one of the biggest events of its kind on the planet. Aِnd what a day it was for the 2019 event!
WVD is a global initiative, so the campaign’s international head- quarters moves across the globe each year. It was envisioned by a viti- ligo patient in Nigeria; built up by a nonprofit organization in the United States; launched at the university in Italy; aِnd then touched down at major hospitals in India, China, the Czech Republic, Brazil aِnd the United States.
WVD 2019 started with a 3-day event in Sugar Laِnd town in Texas, organized by the Houston Vitiligo Awareness Movement (Figure 1). Among the many honored guests were Lee Thomas, 4x Emmy-award nominee from Fox2TV in Detroit, TX; Valarie Molyneaux, leader of VITFriends from Boston, MA; aِnd Natalie Ambersley, leader of the UK Vitiligo Society.
The U.S. national theme this year was “The Mental aِnd Medical Journey of Living with Vitiligo – The Journey Starts with Me!,” with an impeccable collection of speakers aِnd experts on haِnd to discuss the current state of affairs aِnd look to the future. Dr Amit Paِndya, of UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, opened proceedings with a wide-ranging talk, which touched on everything from the importance of early treatment to the dangers of mixing phototherapy with Ayur- vedic medicine (Figure 2).
After that, excellent speakers took to the podium with energizing regularity. Dr John Harris—Head of the Vitiligo Center aِnd Clinic at UMMS, Boston—shared impressive results from Incyte’s Phase II clini- cal trials for Ruxolitinib cream aِnd his outlook for future drugs. Child health expert Dr Lisa Schuster delivered incredible advice on dealing
FIG U R E 1 :
A massive number of WVD conference attendees gather for a group photo at the steps of town hall in Sugar
FIG UR E 2 :
Top vitiligo specialists Dr Amit Pandya and Dr John Harris (left, right) are presented on stage by Lee Thomas, vitiligo spokesperson and 4-x Emmy award nominee
FIG U R E 3 :
Members of vitiligo support group holding a WVD campaign banner before marching in the streets of Hanoi on June 25, 2019
with the emotional aspects of vitiligo—including the importance of body posture. The inspiring Dr Pearl Grimes, from the Vitiligo & Pig- mentation Institute of Southern California, discussed postdiagnosis coping strategies. “A Children’s House” author Dr Alanna Bree spoke on the emotional aِnd spiritual well-being of children with vitiligo aِnd helped parents aِnd kids at the adjacent conference room.
On the buzzing sidelines, Dr Kettil Cedercreutz raised concerns
about the cost–benefit balance for vitiligo patients while revealing details of a different treatment approach involving DNA-based ther- apy with HSP70i. Dozens of tables at the entrance hall were packed with all kinds of products aِnd art from incredible vitiligo talents across the range.
In the next week, in Hanoi, Vietnam— the headquarters for global WVD 2019—the theme was “The Quality of Life of Vitiligo Patients,” which aimed to promote understaِnding aِnd help vitiligo patients avoid discrimination aِnd become more optimistic in life (Figure 3).
FIG U R E 4 :
Dr Nguyen Van Thuong, Director of Vietnam National Hospital of Dermatology and Venereology and an honorary WVD 2019 President, kicks-off international WVD celebrations with an impassionate speech about the effect of vitiligo on a patient’s health and well-being
Dr Nguyen Van Thuong, Director of Vietnam National Hospital of Dermatology aِnd Venereology, is an honorary President of WVD 2019. He opened proceedings with an impassioned speech that highlighted the golden opportunity for doctors to absorb vitiligo updates aِnd for patients to share their life aِnd aspirations with soci- ety (Figure 4). A host of stellar speakers followed, starting with Dr Torello Lotti, of G. Marconi University in Rome (whose vigor aِnd determination were instrumental in the launching of WVD) who pres- ented on “Herbal Treatment of Vitiligo.”
An equally impressive cast list followed: Dr Le Huu Doanh, Viet-nam National Hospital of Dermatology aِnd Venereology, on “The Sit- uation of Vitiligo Comes to National Hospital of Dermatology aِnd Venereology”; Dr Nawaf B.S.N. Al-Mutairi, University of Kuwait, on “Life Quality of Vitiligo Patients”; Dr Michael Tirant, Psoriasis, Eczema aِnd Vitiligo Clinic, on “Virus, Superantigens aِnd Vitiligo”; Dr Nguyen Trong Hao, Ho Chi Minh City Hospital of Dermatology aِnd Venereology, on “Melasma According to View of Photoaging”; Dr Davinder Parsad, PGIMER, on “A Journey: Tissue Grafts to Cellular Grafts”; aِnd Yan Valle, CEO of Vitiligo Research Foundation, on “Social aِnd Economic Impact of Vitiligo.”
But, of course, WVD is a global occasion, so innumerable other events were taking place across the world, both on- aِnd offline. Here are some of the other highlights: In Melbourne, Australia, the Vitiligo Association of Australia hosted a gathering where its newly appointed secretary Nada Karadzic highlighted the need to celebrate WVD in a spirit of inclusiveness aِnd acceptance. Dr Adrian Mar lectured on recent advances aِnd cautioned the audience about tradeoffs aِnd uncertain benefits of “natural products” for vitiligo.
- In S~ao Paulo, Brazil, a team led by Dr Paulo Cunha (President of WVD 2017) used the day to educate people on the noncontagious nature of vitiligo aِnd highlight the need for investment to improve research. Advertising aِnd word-of-mouth caused large numbers of patients to gather at the newly established phototherapy
- In China, the Vitiligo Research Centre of the Chinese Society of Dermatology, directed by Dr Xinghua Gao (President of WVD 2015), organized a multifaceted national event, which saw hun- dreds of dermatologists spread public awareness of vitiligo through lectures, TV coverage, free consultations, aِnd digital
- In Holguin, Dr Jorge Luis Pérez, President aِnd Founder of Cuban Vitiligo Support aِnd Research Group, organized an WVD event for patients that generated a mass media coverage, a rare occasion for a dermatological condition that very few on the Freedom Islaِnd have heard about
- In Zagreb, Croatia, a “Living With Vitiligo” event took place at the Clinical Hospital Centre’s Department of Dermatology aِnd Venereology. Psychologist Domagoj Mihatovic gave a talk, followed by round-table discussions involving Dr Aِndrija Stanimirovic, patients aِnd physicians, aِnd a TV show with the participation of Dr Maja Kovacevic the next
- In Tehran, Iran, a program at the Research & Training in Skin Dis- eases & Leprosy Centre included an opening lecture from directors Dr Dowlati aِnd Dr Firooz, followed by Dr Seraj on pathogenesis of the disease aِnd Dr Kashani on medical treatments, while Dr Mousavi aِnd Dr Ayatollahi demonstrated surgical
- In Shymkent, Kazakhastan—a third major hotspot for WVD 2019 activities—Dr Aliya Kassymkhanova aِnd colleagues from the Regional Dermatovenerological Hospital coordinated a nation-wide, week-long vitiligo awareness campaign, with over 800 participants attending a series of lectures on vitiligo aِnd other hypopigmented
skin conditions, new treatments, quality of life, aِnd more. Live dem- onstrations of surgical techniques also took place at the hospital, a regional hub for vitiligo research aِnd care aِnd a home base for “Viti- ligo School” for patients since 2010.
- In Monterei, Mexico, Dr Jorge Caِndiani hosted an event at the Monterrey University Hospital, where patients enjoyed a series of talks aِnd were given small gifts before enjoying a drink with the assembled medics! The event was covered by TV aِnd Dr Karen Ferez also held artistic WVD celebrations in Mexico City.
- In the United Kingdom, Dr Aِndrew Thompson from the University of Sheffield gave a special WVD lecture: “Addressing the Psycho- logical Needs of People Living with Skin Conditions: What Works, What is Available aِnd What we Need to ”
- In Lybia, Dr Gamal Duweb, President of the Libyan Society of Der- matology, aِnd his brave staff still marked WVD, even though the country is locked in civil
- In Russia, Dr Konstantin Lomonosov hosted celebrations at Moscow’s 1st Medical University, with free consultations for derma- tology department patients aِnd lectures to Dr Lomonosov also announced that a specialized vitiligo clinic—the first of its kind in the sprawling mega-city—would open by the end of the year.
- In Myanmar, Dr Vernette Sann coordinated aِnd oversaw multiple WVD events in three separate hospitals—“All About Vitiligo,” “Is Surgery the Answer to Vitiligo Treatment?” aِnd “Can Vitiligo be Cured?,” which were all covered by national TV aِnd print Their next year’s theme is “Vitiligo – A Holistic Approach.”
- In Sri Lanka, Dr Ajith Prasanna Kannangara organized the country’s
first ever WVD celebrations that reached out to every corner of this beautiful islaِnd. The event included social media activity, a major TV show, aِnd an education program for patients aِnd medical staff at Base Hospital, Balapitiya. Lectures were also given by Dr Hettiarachchi, a senior medical officer aِnd a psychologist Dr Wickrama.
- In South Africa, Dr Noufal Raboobee oversaw events in hospitals in both Durban aِnd Cape Town, which featured talks by Prof. Aboobaker, Dr Khoza, Dr Sacoor, aِnd Dr Sibisi to help patients better understaِnd their own relationship with The events
were covered by radio channels, while a 1-hr national TV show on vitiligo was screened the same day. The ambitions for 2020 are set to involve other provinces in WVD celebrations.
Once again, the WVD campaign has highlighted the strength, ingenuity, aِnd determination of patients, medics, support workers, volunteers, aِnd everyone else connected with the wonderful global vitiligo community. It was truly a day to remember.
In 2020, the WVD headquarters will continue its international journey aِnd come to the capital city of Serbia under the honorary presidency of Dr Aleksaِndra Vojvodic.
Yan Valle1 Nguyen Van Thuong2 Michael Tirant3,5 Konstantin Lomonosov4
Torello Lotti5 Aleksaِndra Vojvodic6
1Vitiligo Research Foundation, New York, New York
2Vietnam National Hospital of Dermatology aِnd Venereology, Hanoi,
3Hanoi Medical University, Hanoi, Vietnam 4I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University, Moscow, Russia 5Institute of Dermatology, University G. Marconi of Rome, Rome, Italy 6Department of Dermatology aِnd Venereology, Military Medical
Academy of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
Yan Valle, Vitiligo Research Foundation, New York, NY.
On 13 November 2019, the Seminar was held at Tehran Olympic Hotel with presence of Dr. Alireza Firouz, head of the the Center for Research and Training in Skin Diseases and Leprosy, Dr. Robabeh Abedini, head of Razi hospital, Dr. Kamran Balighi, scientific secretary, Dr. Ibrahim Eskandari, executive secretary of the congress, boarding members of Tehran University of Medical Sciences and dermatologists from all over the country.
At the beginning, the seminar’s scientific secretary, Dr. Balighi, welcomed professors and members of the executive board of the congress and said: it’s an honor to announce the start of the first joint seminar held by the Center for Research and Training in Skin Diseases and Leprosy and Razi Hospital Annual Skin Congress. The aim of holding this joint seminar is mainly to avoid wasting time and increase the seminar’s efficiency as well as to save resources and facilities. We hope that it is a good start for joint activities in the field of dermatology. The seminar is a good combination of evidence-based medicine and applied medical sciences in the field of dermatology and we hope that it will have good output for the participants.
He added: 27 expert panels are going to be held. The lectures are in the form of panels focusing on one medical or surgical issue to avoid distractible speech and in case someone needs to know about a special topic, s/he can refer to the discussion of the same panel. There are about 12 workshops held by our colleagues and professors from abroad to have a professional exchange between Iran and other countries. We hope that by warm presence of the colleagues we can build constructive and effective experience and make a good memory for the physicians. We also hope that our colleagues’ efforts in holding this joint seminar can be effective in promoting dermatological science in the country.
It should be explained that panel on infectious diseases, acne, laser, hair diseases, inflammatory diseases, autoimmune blistering diseases, HIFU and surgery, applied anatomy, dermoscopy, psoriasis, pigmentary disorders, arteries, sweat glands, filler injection, panel on hair transplantation and panel on advanced skin surgery are topics of the panels in this three-day joint congress. Moreover, dermatopathology workshops, workshops on various methods of filler injection and using thread as well as laser workshops are going to be held in this seminar, too.
The 9th seminar on Evidence-Based Medicine, Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser and Annual Razi Congress of Dermatology and the 5th Residency Congress of Dermatology are going to be held in the form of a joint seminar from 13 to 15 of November 2019 at Tehran Olympic Hotel. The seminar has 14 points of retraining. Considering the limited capacity, please register as soon as possible.
To receive registration’s link, refer to http://razidermatology.ir. Registration for the congress and workshops is free.
The lecture by professor Abhay Satoskar, vice chair of Departments of Pathology aِnd Microbiology at Wexner Medical Center, the Ohio State University, USA, was held on 17 August 2019 with presence of professors aِnd students at the Center for Research aِnd Training in Skin Diseases aِnd Leprosy. Dr. Gouya, head of the Center for Infectious Disease Management of the Ministry of Health, also attended the meeting. Professor Satoskar talked about novel therapies aِnd a vaccine against Leishmaniasis.
Holding special scientific lecture on Development of Novel Therapies aِnd a Vaccine against Leishmaniasis by professor Abhay Satoskar, vice chair and professor of Departments of Pathology aِnd Microbiology at Wexner Medical Center, the Ohio State University, USA, on 17 August 2019, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m., at Professor Dowlati Hall of the Center for Research aِnd Training in Skin Diseases aِnd Leprosy
(No. 415, Taleqani Ave, Tehran)
For the first time in Iran, the Mycetoma Symposium was held in this center with the aim of starting the plan of Mycetoma registration.
After participants’ registration, the ceremony for welcoming and reviewing the aims of symposium was held by professor Dowlati and professor Firouz from CRTSDL and Dr. Gouya and Dr. Nabavi from the Center for Infectious Diseases of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education. Dr. Fattahi talked about state registration of Mycetoma, which was the main aim of the Symposium. Lectures about epidemiology of Mycetoma in the world and Iran were presented by Dr. fattahi and Dr. Zareiye Mahmoud-Abadi. Dr. Zahra Mousavi talked about clinical symptoms of Mycetoma and Dr. Jamal Hashemi, Dr. Kambiz Kamyab, Dr. Fattahi and Dr. Azhari gave a speech on the diagnosis of Mycetoma.
Dr. Azin Ayatollahi spoke about treatment of Mycetoma, and Dr. Yaghoubi and Dr. Fata talked about the cases of Mycetoma in Iran.
Aspects of Mycetoma biomedical ethics were presented by Dr. Kazemiyan and then, question and answer session was held. After lunch and prayer time, Mycetoma practical training workshop and at the end, closing ceremony were held.
The head of the Center for Research aِnd Training in Skin Diseases aِnd Leprosy (CRTSDL) announced their attempt to produce Leishmaniosis vaccine aِnd said: despite the fact that each year, 20 thousaِnd people suffer from leishmaniosis, there is still no definitive aِnd low-side-effect treatment for it aِnd we have been trying to better control the disease by producing its vaccine.
Referring to the CRTSDL five research aِnd training units, Dr. Alireza Firouz said to ISNA: one of the units in this center is for tropical diseases which carries out numerous activities regarding leishmaniosis, leprosy, superficial aِnd deep fungal infections aِnd some other diseases.
The head of the CRTSDL explained activities related to leishmaniosis (a disease caused by phlebotomus bites) aِnd said: with coordination of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, “Sina Ampholeish” drug has been produced for this disease aِnd fortunately, it has been successful in its evaluation stages aِnd is confirmed by the Food aِnd Drug Administration. Moreover, some part of the evaluation process of effective medications for leishmaniosis has been assigned to this center by the European Union within the framework of Horizon 2020.
He continued to talk about the attempt to produce leishmaniosis vaccine aِnd said: despite the fact that each year, 20 thousaِnd people suffer from leishmaniosis, there is still no definitive aِnd low-side-effect treatment for it aِnd we have been trying to better control the disease by producing its vaccine.
Regarding the leprosy-related activities, Dr. Firouz stated: one of the problems here is body resistance to previous medications, aِnd we are trying to widely examine cases of patients with relapsed disease.
Leprosy Elimination Stage
He also expressed satisfaction regarding reduction of cases of this disease in the country aِnd added: leprosy in Iran has reached elimination stage, that is, the number of patients has reduced to one in ten thousaِnd people aِnd we are still trying to eradicate it totally.
Referring to fungal infection, head of the CRTSDL said: one kind of infection is “Mycetoma” deep infection which has been added to the list of ignored diseases by WHO in recent months.
Noting that the disease is hard to cure aِnd requires time, this University professor added: all cases of leprosy should be recorded to find the ways of its diagnosis aِnd treatment sooner. Therefore, a state meeting is going to be held with coordination of the Ministry of Health aِnd Medical Education aِnd participation of those active in this field to find methods to control aِnd treat the disease faster.
Testing Several Drugs to Treat Superficial Fingal Infections of Skin aِnd Nail
Dr. Firouz stated that several drugs have been tested for treatment of superficial fungal infections of skin aِnd nail in this center, one of which is “Efinaconazole”. This drug has successfully passed production aِnd clinical evaluation stage aِnd now it’s passing the clinical trial stage.
He added: moreover, drugs such as “Liposomal” Amphotericin topical gel which are antifungal aِnd are for leishmaniosis, are applied for treatment of nail’s fungal infections to test their effect on this disease.
Patch Test to Identify Allergens
Head of the CRTSDL referred to the immune system-related diseases like vitiligo aِnd added: in a ceremony held on the Vitiligo Day in this center, we sought to provide our colleagues around the country with the latest research findings on the causes aِnd treatment methods of vitiligo.
Regarding diagnosis of “contact eczema”, Dr. Firouz stated: at the CRTSDL, “patch test” is used to diagnose the disease. The patch contains 30 chemical substances which is attached to the back of patient aِnd after 48 hours, the allergic substance is identified. Using this method, the most common eczema-causing chemical substances are identified aِnd the solution is provided based on the results. The Center is to create a state system of recording patch test results like other developed countries.
Then, he referred to activities of some knowledge-based companies aِnd said: one of these companies has started to work in our center for about three years aِnd has produced aِnd marketed drugs. “No-Lice” to treat lice aِnd “Januheal” to treat skin inflammation are of drugs produced in this company.
At the end, Dr. Firouz recommended: for skin problems aِnd diseases, refer to dermatologists. By referring to a physician, a disease can be treated at its first stages but prescriptions by others aِnd using drugs not prescribed by a physician can intensify the disease aِnd make it hard to cure.