I find vitiligo to be a fascinating, yet devastating disorder: almost overnight, patients see their skin colour erode and their identity change. Vitiligo has a serious impact on individuals and their family and professional relationships, something I’ve discussed before when looking at treatment challenges.
Because of this impact, we’ve been very careful of the way in which we discuss vitiligo publicly to ensure that, rather than adding to the distress of those affected, we can have a positive impact on disease awareness while we execute our clinical program. I’ve had the privilege to speak with individuals from a broad range of backgrounds living with, and treating, this disorder, with conversations ranging from disease impact, to treatments, to prevalence. During these discussions I also try to seek feedback on how we present the program: what we are doing and how we can do it better. This feedback has, in turn, led to changes, large and small, in our communications (and hopefully will continue to do so).
Yet, one story is often at the forefront when discussing vitiligo with investors, journalists and the broader public which we haven’t discussed until today: the case of Michael Jackson’s very public battle with vitiligo and pigment change. Often these conversations boil down quickly to the “Michael Jackson skin disease”. (more…)