After L’Oreal promised anti gray hair remedy, now the german researchers discovered a substance called PC-Kus: may mean the end to both gray hair and the skin condition vitiligo, which causes patches of pigment-less skin.
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PC-KUS is a cream that can be applied to hair, restorig original/natural pigment (natural hair color). The report of FASEB journal notes that the enormous accumulation of hydrogen peroxide can be cured with a proprietary treatment developed by the researchers described as a topical, ultraviolet B-activated — sunlight — compound PC-KUS, a modified pseudocatalase.
When this cream is applied topically to hair, it converts hydrogen peroxide in the follicle to harmless water and oxygen, thereby blocking it from accumulating in the follicle. This allows the hair to retain its natural color, according to the study conducted last month by a group of researchers from the Centre for Skin Sciences at England’s University of Bradford and Germany’s Institute for Pigmentary Disorders at E.M. Arndt University of Greifswald. And once PC-KUS has been applied, it can even cause hair to go back to its original pigmentation, which the study claims it may also be able to do for sufferers of vitiligo.
Vitiligo is an idiopathic acquired disease, which is characterized by a sudden loss of the skin colour. This is not only a harmless anomaly. Patients suffer from severe psychological stress. Consequently other illnesses can occur.
The etiology of vitiligo is still unclear. The incidence ranges between 0.5 – 1% of the world population affecting all skin colours and gender equally.
Vitiligo can appear at any age but the peak onset is around the age of 20 years. Approximately 40% of the patients have another affected member in the family. An isomorphic response (Koebner- phenomenon) is observed in 45% of affected individuals. This can trigger the onset of the disease after an injury/trauma and it can worsen an ongoing vitiligo. Vitiligo can itch!
Basic Research Leads to New Knowledge
* Melanocytes are still present in longstanding ( > 25 years) depigmented skin of patients with vitiligo. (Tobin et al, J.Pathol (2000) 191: 407- 416.)
* All patients with vitiligo generate and accumulate hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in their epidermis. (Schallreuter et al, J.Invest Dermatol (2001) 116: 167-174. Schallreuter et al, J.Invest Dermatol (1999) 4: 91-96.)
* To date there are six sources of H2O2 generation documented in vitiligo. (Schallreuter et al, Science (1994) 263: 1444-1446, Rokos et al, (2002); Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 292:805-811)
* The patients with vitiligo cannot efficiently remove these high levels of H2O2 due to low catalase, glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase levels. (Schallreuter et al, J.Invest Dermatol (1991) 97:1081-1085, Beazley et al, British Journal Dermatol, (1999) 141: 301-303. Schallreuter et al, J.Invest Dermatol (1986) 87: 728-732. Schallreuter, Wood, J. Photochem Photobiol (2001) 64:179-184.)
* This patient group has difficulties to maintain the calcium balance in the skin. ( Schallreuter et al, Arch Dermatol. Res (1996) 288: 11-13, Schallreuter and Pittelkow, Arch Dermatol Res. (1988) 280: 137-139.)
* For the first time patients with vitiligo can be diagnosed based on their ability to metabolize the essential amino acid L- phenylalanine. 40% of all patients have difficulties to deal with L-phenylalanine. A specific test allows to tailor the treatment for each individual patient. ( Schallreuter et al, Biochem Biophys Res Commun. (1988) 395-399 and unpublished data)
* Clinical evaluation of a large patient group does not support the autoimmune hypothesis in vitiligo as the primary event. (Schallreuter et al, Dermatology (1994) 188: 269-275.)
PC-KUS was tested to an international group of 2,411 patients with vitiligo, 2.4 percent were diagnosed with strictly segmental vitiligo and after treatment of the pseudocatalase activated via sunlight, the pigment of the skin and eyelashes returned.
A New Treatment as a Result of Basic Research
Pseudocatalase cream plus calcium has been originally developed by Schallreuter et al and was used as a substitution for low catalase levels in the treatment of vitiligo (K U Schallreuter, J M Wood and K R Lemke et al.
Treatment of vitiligo with a topical application of pseudocatalase and calcium in combination with short term UVB exposure, Dermatology, 190: 223-229, 1995).The word pseudocatalase has been introduced by these authors to differentiate between the natural enzyme catalase and a chemical complex which does the same job, i.e. degrading hydrogen peroxide.
In this context, it is noteworthy that catalase cannot penetrate the top layer of the skin. Therefore, it is important to note that any products containing natural catalase in a cream are basically ineffective, and any product advertised as catalase in the treatment of vitiligo should be usedwith caution.
* Repigmentation with pseudocatalase cream PC-KUS can be achieved in all skin colours and is independent of the percentage of depigmented skin and the duration of the disease! First signs of repigmentation can be observed after 3-4 months.
* This treatment modality can also successfully repigment lips, ears and genitals. However, the response on fingers and feet is disappointing. (Schallreuter et al, Dermatology (1995) 190: 223-229.)
* The removal of high levels of epidermal H2O2 with narrowband UVB activated pseudocatalase – PC-KUS coincides with – stabilization of the depigmentation process followed by repigmentation. (Schallreuter et al, 1995,190:223-229, J.Invest Dermatol, 2001, 116:167-174 Int. Journal of Dermatol 2002 in press.)
* The treatment has no side effects providing the liver function of the affected individual is normal. (Schallreuter et al, Dermatology (1995) 190: 223-229.)
* A significant faster initiation of repigmentation can be induced with the combination of climatotherapy at the Dead Sea together with pseudocatalase PC-KUS over a period of 21 days. First repigmentation occurs between the day 14-20. This fast repigmentation lasts for an additional 4 months when continued with daily treatment using narrowband UVB activated pseudocatalase PC-KUS.(Schallreuter et al, Int. Journal of Dermatol (2002) in press.)
* The shelf life of pseudocatalase PC-KUS stored at 4°C is 12 months.
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