AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - "I would always wear long sleeves or jeans to cover up my knees." Growing up was not easy for Medha Iyer. "Ididnt really know what was happening at the time."
At age eight, she was diagnosed with vitiligo - a disease that causes people to lose pigment in their skin. "I first saw symptoms on my feet , it started on my left foot and it started to progressively go to the rest of my body," said Medha.
Medha went through several treatments but nothing seemed to work.
Her parents decided to moved to India in the search for homeopathic remedies but again, no success. The family eventually moved to Texas, where she started to notice the impact her appearance could have. "I started to see people staring at me and whispering and talking about my skin."
"I felt so terrible and it was very difficult," Medha explains.
"It could be really emotionally devastating to a lot of people." Laura Bosworth is the CEO of Tevido Bio Devices. Her company is working to streamline a procedure that helps those with vilitligo experience repigmenation. "There is a process where you can move healthy cells , called malanoides from one area of you body to an area where you have lost those melanoides."
To accomplish this, doctors take a razor thin sample of healthy pigmented skin from the patient. That sample is shipped to Tevido's lab in Austin where they process it and ship it right back to the patient's doctor. "Its two techniques that will lightly take off that epidermis and then you apply these living cells to that slight wound and over the course of a few weeks you should start seeing pigment, and then withing 6 months that comes back."
The treatment is currently performed in many countries.
But the United States only has three universities with labs set up. Tevido Biodevices hopes to make the treatment accessible to everyone and have been working with local experts to make that a reality.