TeVido BioDevices and Treating Vitiligo originally appeared on Inside Sources – Click Here to Read the Whole Article.
TeVido BioDevices, a Texas-based biotech company, plans in 2019 to begin treating patients with vitiligo (vit-ih-LIE-go) — an illness in which the body’s autoimmune system destroys the skin’s melanocytes (pigment-producing cells). The result is milky splotches and, in extreme cases, loss of pigmentation over much or all of the body. Vitiligo is especially visible in dark-skinned people, but it afflicts all ethnicities and is emotionally devastating for many.
TeVido’s treatment involves taking cells from a normally pigmented segment of the patient’s own skin and transplanting those cells to replace the damaged skin segments. The vitiligo treatment, if successful, will jumpstart TeVido’s previous plans for entry into clinical applications. The company’s longer-term goal has been the 3D-printing of a nipple for breast reconstruction. That effort, in turn, fits into biotech’s long-term goal of developing the means to manufacture larger organs (hearts, lungs, etc.) from patients’ own cells — obviating the need for transplant donors or lifelong immunosuppressant therapy.
TeVido’s effort demonstrates the virtues of entrepreneurship. Small, nimble entities can shift goals as opportunity and necessity appear. While nipple reconstruction is still a few years off, the development process offered the more rapidly attainable treatment for vitiligo. Success against vitiligo, in turn, makes it easier for TeVido to attract more investment dollars for the company’s longer-term efforts.
Vitiligo involves even thinner tissue. Responding to my email query about its procedure, TeVido’s CEO Laura Bosworth explained: “As we developed our technology to re-pigment the nipple areola lost due to breast cancer, we realized this could benefit patients with vitiligo. And we can make this happen quickly.” TeVido’s initial vitiligo procedures will not involve 3D printing, but later versions of the treatment will.
Vitiligo is not currently curable, though for some patients, the destruction of melanocytes ceases at some point. TeVido’s procedure is limited to these stable cases. Time will tell how permanent re-pigmented skin patches will be, though clinical studies are very encouraging. However, if the milky patches start spreading again, the vitiligo is now active — destroying pigmentation. It is then possible to lose pigment at the treated spot. (As an aside, TeVido’s treatments will likely work, also, on depigmented scar tissue.)
In the meantime, TeVido’s breast reconstruction work continues apace. Women who receive nipple-sparing mastectomies often experience depigmentation of sections of the areola. TeVido hopes to begin restoring color in such cases this fall. TeVido’s original goal — recreating the color of a nipple of a “normal” mastectomy — will likely be a few years out.
In Bosworth’s words: “TeVido’s mission has always been about helping patients to feel ‘whole’ again.”