Clinical Application of Cultured Stratified Epithelial Sheets Grown Under Feeder or Feeder-Free Conditions for Stable Vitiligo

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BACKGROUNDAutologous cultured therapy has emerged as an effective treatment for stable vitiligo. However, culture methods may include harmful agents and be unsuitable for therapeutic use in humans.OBJECTIVETo investigate the safety and efficacy of autologous cultured epithelial sheets propagated under serum-free and feeder-free conditions for the treatment of stable vitiligo.METHODSTwenty-eight patients with stable vitiligo were included in this study. Keratinocytes and melanocytes from 14 patients were cultured under serum-free, feeder-free conditions (Group A). Epithelial cells from the remaining 14 patients were cultured according to Rheinward and Green's technique (Group B). Patients were followed up at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after transplantation.RESULTSThe epithelial sheets cultured in Group A were thinner and more fragile than Group B, but there were no significant differences in repigmentation between the 2 groups. At 12-month follow-up, in Group A, repigmentation at graft sites was classified as excellent in 9 patients and good in 2 patients. In Group B, repigmentation was excellent in 8 patients and good in 4 patients. Scars at the donor sites were the most frequent adverse events associated with the procedure.CONCLUSIONAutologous epithelial sheet cultured in serum-free, feeder-free conditions is a safe and efficacious approach to cure stable vitiligo.

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