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New Laser Treatment on Horizon for Skin Disorder
Jun 2002
NEW YORK, June 26 -- Excimer lasers could become a safer treatment for vitiligo, a disfiguring skin disorder that causes partial or total pigmentation loss. Researchers said the treatment may be less likely to cause skin cancer than the standard treatment, ultraviolet (UV) light.

The current treatment uses a light box -- much like a tanning bed -- to deliver UV light. This can be effective but often requires several treatments a week, lasting many months or even a year, according to James M. Spencer of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and his research colleagues.

The excimer laser emits very concentrated light in the ultraviolet range but is directed only at the areas that need treatment and for a shorter number of sessions.

Spencer's team tested the laser therapy on 18 patients with vitiligo three times a week for a maximum of 12 treatments. The 18 patients were compared to a group who received no treatment and did not improve. According to the report published in the June issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, more than half of 23 patches of vitiligo that received at least 6 treatments responded partially or completely. The researchers recommended further studies of the method.

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