Past GVF and Vitiligo Events
Select the year below to see additional information about the event.
Select the year below to see additional information about the event.
Annual Scientific Symposium
March 16, 2023 | New Orleans, LA
World Vitiligo Day-USA
June 23-25, 2023
2022 Annual Scientific Symposium
March 24, 2022
2022 Vitiligo International Symposium (VIS)
December 9-11, 2022
Abstract Book (PDF)
2022 World Vitiligo Day-USA (WVD-USA)
2022 World Vitiligo Day-USA (WVD-USA)
June 24-26, 2022
Click here for additional information.
Watch part of the event. Check out the video from our partners at MyVitiligoTeam.
2021 Vitiligo International Symposium (VIS)
December 4-5, 2021
2021 GVF Annual Scientific Symposium
The 2021 Virtual Symposium was a wonderful success.
March 18, 2021
Check out the 2021 Symposium page.
Watch the 2021 Annual Scientific Symposium abstract presentations.
2021 World Vitiligo Day-USA
June 26, 2021
2020 Vitiligo International Symposium
December 5-6, 2020
8 Invited Speakers
25+ virtual posters
Watch the 2020 VIS
2020 GVF Annual Scientific Symposium
The 2020 meeting was canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
2020 World Vitiligo Day-USA
June 27, 2020
The 2020 Virtual World Vitiligo Day was a successful event!
Want to see it? Click here.
2020 Vitiligo Experts Q&A Session
October 8, 2020
Missed something when you watched this live? Didn’t see it all?
Click here to watch the panel discussion!
2019 GVF Annual Scientific Symposium
Thursday, February 28, 2019
The Mayflower Hotel
1127 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, D.C., 20036
7:00 am – 11:30 am
2019 GVF Annual Abstract Session (PDF)
8:00 AM – 8:05 AM
8:05 AM -8:07 AM
Introduction of Invited Speaker
8:07 AM – 8:47 AM
Invited Speaker: John H. Harris, MD, PhD | University of Massachusetts | Emerging treatments for vitiligo
8:47 AM – 8:49 AM
Intro. Abstract #1
8:49 AM – 8:59 AM
Dalia Bassiouny, MD | University of Cairo | The challenge of surgical treatment of the fingers in stable NSV, could technique modification improve the outcome?
8:59 AM – 9:01 AM
Intro. Abstract #2
9:01 AM – 9:11 AM
Alexis B. Lyons, MD | Henry Ford Hospital | Comparing the efficacy of VL+UVA1 versus NB-UVB on inducing repigmentation in subjects with generalized vitiligo
9:11 AM – 9:13 AM
Intro. Abstract #3
9:13 AM – 9:23 AM
Raúl Cabrera, MD | Universidad del Desarrollo-Clínica Alemana de Santiago de Chile | Predictive Model for Response Rate to Narrowband Ultraviolet B Phototherapy in Vitiligo: A Retrospective Cohort Study of 579 Patients
9:23 AM – 9:25 AM
Intro. Abstract #4
9:25 AM – 9:35 AM
David Rosmarin, MD | Tufts Medical Center | Demographics and Clinical Characteristics of Patients Enrolled in a Randomized, Double-Blind, Dose-Ranging Study of Ruxolitinib Cream for the Treatment of Vitiligo
9:35 AM – 9:37 AM
Intro. Abstract #5
9:37 AM – 9:47 AM
Sanne Uitentuis, MD | University of Amsterdam | The ultraviolet light camera, a promising measurement instrument for lesion assessment in vitiligo
9:47 AM – 9:49 AM
Intro. Abstract #6
9:49 AM – 9:59 AM
Raheel Zubair, MD | Henry Ford Hospital | Establishing the Fingertip Unit to Assess BSA in Diverse Populations
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Panel Case Study | Dr. Pearl Grimes, Dr. Amit Pandya, Dr. Davinder Parsad
10:30 AM – 10:45 AM
10:45 AM – 11:00 AM
2018 GVF Annual Scientific Symposium
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina
333 W. Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA 92101
7:00 am – 11:30 am
2018 GVF Annual Abstract Program (PDF)
7:55 AM – 8:00 AM
8:00 AM – 8:10 AM
Andrea Tovar-Garza, MD | University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center A pilot study of suction blister grafting for patients with vitiligo using an automated epidermal harvesting system
8:10 AM – 8:20 AM
Samia Esmat, MD | Cairo University Incubator Free, Room Temperature Trypsinization: Another Step in the Way of “NCECS Made Easy”
8:20 AM – 8:30 AM
Maggi Ahmed, MD | University of Massachusetts Medical School Vitiligo of Patients Undergoing Melanocyte Keratinocytes Transplantation Surgery: Is It Truly Stable?
8:30 AM – 8:40 AM
Muhammed Razmi Thurkintavide, MD| Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh Long term repigmentation outcome of combined epidermal and follicular cell suspension in stable vitiligo – follow up study of an intra-patient, active controlled, randomized clinical trial
8:40 AM – 8:50 AM
John E. Harris, MD | University of Massachusetts Medical School Targeting IL-15 signaling in resident memory T cells with an anti-CD122 antibody durably reverses vitiligo
8:50 AM – 9:00 AM
Taylor L. Braunberger, MD, Research Fellow | Henry Ford Hospital Synergistic Effects of Long Wavelength Ultraviolet A1 and Visible Light on Pigmentation: Potential Phototherapy for Vitiligo
9:00 AM – 9:10 AM
Amanda Nahhas, DO | Henry Ford Hospital The impact of positive antinuclear antibody on narrowband-UVB phototherapy in patients with vitiligo: a retrospective chart review
9:10 AM – 9:20 AM
Victor Huang, MD | Brigham and Women’s Hospital 2% Topical Tofacitinib for the Treatment of Refractory Vitiligo
9:20 AM – 9:30 AM
Jung Min Bae, MD, PhD | Catholic University of Korea
Lessons from healthcare big data analyses for vitiligo and phototherapy
9:30 AM – 9:40 AM
Anand Ganesan, MD | University of California, Irvine
Visualizing Repigmentation in the Skin of Patients with Vitiligo
9:40 AM – 9:50 AM
Amit Pandya, MD |University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center
Outcomes Committee Update
9:50 AM – 9:55 AM
Drs. Luzio Paulo & Patricia Paludo | International Clinical Pearls
9:55 AM – 10:00 AM
Patient Testimonials Video
6th Annual GVF Dinner
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Embassy Suites Room
601 Pacific Highway San Diego, CA, 92101
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
6th Annual GVF Dinner Program (PDF)
7:00 PM – 7:35 PM
Welcome, introduction and overview of Global Vitiligo Foundation, “What have we done and where are we going” – Dr. Iltefat Hamzavi and Vicki Tiahrt, GVF Co-Chairs
7:35 PM – 7:50 PM
Patient support groups update – Dr. Richard Huggins
7:50 PM – 9:00 PM
2018 Vitiligo International Symposium (VIS)
November 9-10, 2018
Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center
400 Renaissance Drive
Detroit, Michigan 48243 USA
Final Program (PDF)
Abstract Book (PDF)
2018 Meeting Synopsis (PDF)
TITLE: Proceeding Report of the Second Vitiligo International Symposium (VIS)- November 9-10, 2018, Detroit, Michigan, USA
Alexis B. Lyons MD, Deepti Ghia MD, Marwa Abdallah MD, Zalfa Abdel-Malek PhD, Samia Esmat MD, Khaled Ezzedine MD, PhD, Pearl Grimes MD, Harvey Lui MD, Prashiela Manga MD, Qing-Sheng Mi MD, PhD, Amit Pandya MD, Davinder Parsad MD, Thiery Passeron MD, Julien Seneschal MD, Narumol Silpa-Archa MD, Alain Taieb MD, Flora Xiang MD, Henry W. Lim MD, Iltefat H. Hamzavi MD
ABSTRACT WORD COUNT: 92
MANUSCRIPT WORD COUNT: 2426
FUNDING SOURCES: None
The 2nd Biennial Vitiligo International Symposium (VIS) was held in Detroit, Michigan, USA from November 9-10, 2018. This symposium was hosted by the Global Vitiligo Foundation (GVF). The purpose of this meeting was to provide a forum for the exchange of research ideas and discussion of results on basic science and clinical research on vitiligo, and to gather input from patients on advocacy efforts, quality of life, and perception of the disease. This meeting was attended by over 180 clinicians, researchers, and patients from North America, Central America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
1 | Introduction
The Global Vitiligo Foundation (GVF) hosted the 2nd Biennial Vitiligo International Symposium (VIS) which was held at the Detroit Marriott at Renaissance Center in Detroit, Michigan, USA from November 9-10, 2018. The conference was opened by Iltefat H. Hamzavi (Detroit, Michigan, USA), President of the GVF and Co-Chair of the VIS and David M. Ozog (Detroit, Michigan, USA), C.S. Livingood Chair and Chairman of the Department of Dermatology of Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan, USA. Henry W. Lim (Detroit, Michigan, USA), former President of the American Academy of Dermatology, Chair Emeritus of the Department of Dermatology of Henry Ford Hospital, and Co-Chair of the VIS, then presented highlights of the meeting. The meeting was organized around four plenary lectures, several diverse panel discussions, and workshops emphasizing vitiligo surgery and imaging.
Despite the increased awareness and dedicated research into the disease, there is still much to learn regarding pathophysiology, epidemiology, and management of vitiligo. The purpose of this meeting was to provide a forum for the exchange of research ideas and discussion of basic science and clinical research on vitiligo and to gather input on advocacy efforts, quality of life, and perception of the disease. Patients with vitiligo were also involved and attended a patient session. This meeting was well received by 184 attendees from 23 countries around the world. This manuscript reviews the topics discussed at the meeting.
2 | Plenary Lectures
Four plenary lectures explored the complex pathophysiology of vitiligo, future targets for therapy, and optimization of treatment outcomes.
3 | Panel Discussions and Poster Presentations
Updates on the pathophysiology, severity assessment tools, comorbidities, treatments, and surgical options for vitiligo were presented.
3.1 | Pathophysiology of Vitiligo
New insights into the pathophysiology of vitiligo were presented relating to keratinocyte behavior, detachment of melanocytes from the basal membrane, apoptosis of melanocytes, and progression of disease.
The discovery of the role of keratinocytes in the pathogenesis of vitiligo is a relatively new advancement in the understanding of the disease. Kovacs et al (Rome, Italy) presented work that showed the presence of alterations in the architecture and functionality of keratinocytes in normal appearing skin in vitiligo patients when compared to those without vitiligo. This underlines the fact that in vitiligo, there is involvement of all cutaneous cell populations. In addition, Esmat (Cairo, Egypt) showed that keratinocytes in vitiligo patients show abnormalities in adhesion, apoptosis, and cytokine production. Aquaporins play an important role in keratinocyte differentiation and adhesion, and Aquaporin 3 is defective in vitiligo lesions.
The detachment of melanocytes is also a major factor in disease development. Boniface (Bordeaux, France) proposed a new mechanism to explain melanocyte loss in which inflammatory cytokines act directly on melanocytes to downregulate E-cadherin expression and increase production of MMP9 by epidermal cells which leads to subsequent detachment and loss of melanocytes from the basal layer and suggested that MMP9 inhibitors could contribute to melanocyte stabilization. Similarly, Gautier (Bordeaux, France) suggested that defective adhesion of melanocytes could play a crucial role in vitiligo pathogenesis. This theory is that stress promotes detachment of a melanocyte into the dermis (melanocytoptosis) where it is engulfed within a macrophage, carried by a dendritic cell, and presented to a T-cell to initiate the autoimmune T-cell mediated killing of melanocytes.
The apoptosis of melanocytes is also thought to contribute. Passeron (Nice, France) discussed the activation of CXCR3B on melanocytes and its role in induction of their apoptosis. Thus, targeting CXCR3B could prove to be a new therapeutic target. In addition, Oh (Seoul, South Korea) presented information on high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), a chromatin protein, and its association with melanocyte apoptosis and vitiligo pathogenesis. Manga (New York, New York, USA) discussed the dysfunctional stress response pathways and their role in vitiligo development and melanocyte survival. Three survival pathways were identified and included the unfolded protein stress response, the NRF2-regulated antioxidant response, and the nuclear factor-kappa B (NFkB) pathway.
Markers for progression of vitiligo were also presented. Boniface (Bordeaux, France) found that perilesional skin in progressive vitiligo patients shows up-regulation of NKG2D when compared to stable vitiligo and control patients. This highlights NKG2D as a potential marker for progression which could be targeted for therapeutic management options. Additionally, advances in the role of metabolism were discussed by Bastonini (Rome, Italy) whereby there is intrinsic metabolic impairment involving the cells of both dermis and epidermis in vitiligo patients. Melanocytes in vitiligo patients overexpress mitochondrial genes and autophagic markers. In addition, Muhammad (Cairo, Egypt) found that increased serum IL-23 levels might have a role in pathogenesis of vitiligo through the initiation of inflammation. Patients with active vitiligo had significantly higher serum IL-23 levels than controls whereas stable vitiligo patients did not have a significant difference in IL-23 levels when compared to controls.
3.2 | Assessing Vitiligo Severity
Numerous methods to evaluate vitiligo severity were presented including subjective and objective assessment tools. Abdallah (Cairo, Egypt) presented her work on the self-administered vitiligo extent score (SA-VES) which demonstrated excellent feasibility (easily comprehensible, easily administered, and short completion time) in an Egyptian population and showed validity with physician’s Vitiligo Extent Score (VES). The first guide for interpretation of the numerical output obtained by the SA-VES with translation into a global vitiligo severity grade was then presented by van Geel (Ghent, Belgium). She also presented the interrater reliability of a Physician Global Assessment (PGA) tool. Lui (Vancouver, BC, Canada) reviewed the well-established Vitiligo Area Scoring Index (VASI) which was developed to quantify the objective visible appearance of vitiligo on the skin and reflect specific aspects of the clinical disease presentation including the overall area of involvement and the gradual nature of repigmentation (i.e. freckling, repigmentation from the border, or homogeneous repigmentation). He also discussed noninvasive optical analysis using multimodal spectroscopy of vitiligo which reveals additional potential pathophysiologic changes beyond the absence of melanin from the skin.
Methods to more accurately measure small changes in surface area involvement were also presented. Zubair (Detroit, MI, USA) presented the fingertip unit (FTU) whereby 1 hand unit equivalent to 1% body surface area (BSA), and 1 FTU corresponds to 0.03% BSA. Vickers (Philadelphia, PA, USA) introduced a novel technique using a smartphone application to perform surface area measurements allowing for more objective tracking of changes over time.
3.3 | Vitiligo Treatments
Results of clinical trials and studies on vitiligo treatments were presented. Passeron (Nice, France) presented the results of a double-blind placebo-controlled trial of apremilast in combination with narrowband UV-B (NBUVB) vs NBUVB alone for vitiligo which showed that repigmentation was not statistically significantly different between the two groups.
Depigmentation study results were also presented. Majid (Srinagar Kashmir, India) presented results from a long-term study with follow-up of 4 years which found that Q-switched Nd: YAG laser treatment is an effective tool for treating residual pigmentation in universal vitiligo, and the effect can be maintained with regular sunscreen use and topical depigmentation therapies as needed. Similarly, Mostafa (Cairo, Egypt) showed that depigmentation of residual normal skin using monobenzyl ether of hydroquinone (MBEH) can greatly improve quality of life in patients with extensive vitiligo.
3.4 | Comorbidities
The predisposition for other autoimmune conditions in patients with vitiligo is well known. Other comorbid conditions have been less studied. Bae (Gyeonggi-do, South Korea) presented work from the Korean NHI Claims database which revealed that pregnant women with vitiligo had a significantly lower rate of full-term pregnancy and a higher incidence of spontaneous abortion when compared to pregnant women without vitiligo. In addition, compared to vitiligo patients with no NBUVB phototherapy, those with greater than 100 sessions had reduced risks of cardiovascular events, cerebrovascular events, and all major osteoporotic fractures. Nguyen (Huntington Beach, CA, USA) presented results from a sample of 67 patients with vitiligo and showed there was no relationship between vitiligo and obesity. Grimes (Los Angeles, CA, USA) presented results from a recent study which revealed that vitiligo patients had significantly higher vitamin D levels compared with other skin diseases. Additionally, Seneschal (Bordeaux, France) showed that the presence of increased IgE levels in patients with vitiligo is negatively associated with other autoimmune processes and is associated with Koebner Phenomenon type 1. Thus, surgical procedures for vitiligo in these patients with elevated IgE levels should be weighted carefully with the risk of depigmentation at the donor site.
Bhatia (Detroit, MI, USA) presented information from vitiligo support groups which revealed that photoprotection habits and understanding of the effects of UV light on vitiligo differs significantly between patients who participate in support groups versus those who do not. Patients with vitiligo who were in support groups had safer sun protection habits and declared less often to believe that sun exposure leads to increased risk of skin cancer in vitiligo patients. Additionally, Smith (Detroit, MI, USA) presented data that vitiligo support group members are more likely to report a higher psychosocial burden and worse quality of life than non-support group members.
3.4 | Surgical Options for Vitiligo
Numerous surgical options for vitiligo were discussed with emphasis on different techniques as well as patient selection. Non-cultured melanocyte keratinocyte transplantation (MKTP) pioneered by Mulekar (Mumbai, India) has many advantages over other surgical methods for vitiligo and gives excellent cosmetic results in most of the treated cases. Recently, many indicators of good and bad prognoses with MKTP have been observed. Fingertip involvement and large areas of vitiligo are worse prognostic factors. In addition, children respond more poorly compared to adults. Altalha (Riyadh, Saudi Aradia) reviewed the main causes of relapse in patients treated with MKTP including fingertip involvement as well as disease instability. In addition, mechanical dermabrasion had decreased relapse rates when compared to laser dermabrasion of the recipient area. Ahmed (Worcester, MA, USA) presented findings of autoreactive CD8+ T-cells which remain present in clinically stable vitiligo patches. This could explain the relapse or poor surgical response with different vitiligo subtypes after cell or tissue transplantation. Given this, pre and post-operative phototherapy or immunosuppressive medical therapy might improve success after surgery.
Other surgical methods were also described. Gupta (New Delhi, India) compared non-cultured epidermal cell suspension and non-cultured extracted hair follicle outer root sheath cell suspension and found that both provide comparable results in terms of repigmentation despite less cells being transplanted in the outer root sheath cell suspension. Majid (Srinagar Kashmir, India) described the technique of smash grafting which can serve as an alternative to cellular grafting techniques in resource poor settings. In addition, smash grafting can repigment a recipient vitiligo lesion that is 5-10 times the size of the donor graft. Punch grafting is another commonly used technique. The skin seeding technique described by Min Bae (Gyeonggi-do, South Korea) using a 0.5mm punch showed excellent treatment results for stable vitiligo refractory to medical treatment regardless of the direction of the punch grafting orientation. A study by Atwa (Ismailia, Egypt) found that needling has no significant effect on the outcome of punch grafting and in some cases, might have a worse outcome leading to less repigmentation and higher incidence of a depigmented rim. In contrast, Benzekri (Rabat Maroc, Morocco) found that transepidermal melanocyte delivery via dermarolling/dermastamping with needles is a simple, safe, and effective therapeutic option for nonacral, stable vitiligo patches not exceeding 100cm2.
Melanocyte count and viability were also reviewed. Esmat (Cairo, Egypt) presented data that both the gluteal and thigh region are equally suitable for harvesting donor tissue for surgery due to similar melanocytic count in both areas. In addition, the melanocyte count was significantly increased in both sites after 18 sessions of NBUVB phototherapy. In addition, El-Hawary (Cairo, Egypt) found that for the treatment of stable vitiligo lesions, modified autologous cultured hair follicle outer root sheath cell suspension transplantation compared to autologous non-cultured hair follicle cell suspension transplantation showed more melanin content and melanocyte viability. However, this modified autologous cultured hair follicle outer root sheath cell suspension transplantation method is more expensive and time consuming than the non-cultured method.
4 | Workshops
Several specialized workshops were held during the meeting including an interactive surgical workshop, an imaging workshop, and a patient session.
5 | Conclusion
The 2nd Biennial VIS provided a forum for dissemination of the most up to date vitiligo research from around the globe. Despite the knowledge gaps that are still present, this research will continue to advance our knowledge of the disease in order to work toward more affective treatment options. The authors wish to thank all of the attendees, presenters, and patients who attended the symposium.
2017 GVF Annual Scientific Symposium
March 2, 2017
Hyatt Regency Orlando
Room Name: Coral Spring
9801 International Drive
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
5th Annual Meeting Agenda (PDF)
7:00 PM – 7:15 PM Welcome, Introduction, and overview of Global Vitiligo Foundation, “What have we done and where are we going” Dr. Iltefat Hamzavi and Vicki Tiahrt, GVF Co-Chairs
7:15 PM – 7:30 PM Translating Discoveries in the Lab to Treatments, Dr. John Harris
7:30 PM – 8:30 PM Dinner and Networking
8:30 PM – 9:00 PM Patient-Centered Outcome Measures, Dr. Amit Pandya and Dr. Khalid Ezzedine
9:00 PM – 9:15 PM Partnering with Our Patients, Dr. Richard Huggins
9:15 PM – 9:20 PM Closing, Dr. Henry Lim
9:20 PM – 10:00 PM Networking
4th Annual Vitiligo Working Group (VWG) Meeting Program
March 3, 2016
Grand Hyatt Hotel
1000 H St. NW
6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
6:00 PM – 6:10 PM Welcome Introduction, Dr. Iltefat Hamzavi, VWG Chair
6:10 PM – 6:30 PM Partnering with Our Patients, Dr. Richard Huggins
6:30 PM – 6:40 PM Advocating for and with Our Patients, Seemal Desai
6:40 PM – 7:00 PM Removing Human Error by Optimizing Imaging of Vitiligo lesions, Dr. Amit Pandya & Indermeet Kohli, PhD
7:00 PM – 7:30 PM Dinner and Networking
7:30 PM – 7:45 PM The Power of Vitiligo Registries and Patient-Centered Outcome Measures, Dr. Amit G. Pandya, Dr. Marcel Bekkenk, Dr. Annalise Lommerts
7:45 PM – 8:00 PM Taking Our Message to the Public: Optimizing the Social Narrative, Dr. Michelle Rodrigues
8:00 PM – 8:30 PM Translating Discoveries in the Lab to Treatments, Dr. John E. Harris
8:30 PM – 8:45 PM Current and Future Reimbursement Trends for Vitiligo Treatments, Dr. Iltefat Hamzavi
8:45 PM – 9:00 PM The Difficult Task of Standardizing Phototherapy for Vitligo, Dr. Samia Esmat
9:00 PM – 9:15 PM Optimizing the VWG Website to Achieve Our Mission, Dr. Babar Rao & Dr. Tasneem Mohammad
9:15 PM – 9:30 PM World Premiere of the film, “My Vitiligo”, Introduced by Dr. Michelle Rodrigues
9:30 PM – 9:45 PM Advances in Vitiligo Treatment from the Perspective of the Pharmaceutical Industry
9:45 PM – 10:00 PM Closing, Dr. Iltefat Hamzavi