News for Patients


Autoantibodies May Explain Link Between Cancer and Scleroderma Onset

Author: Patricia Silva
Date Published: February-2015
Source: Scleroderma News

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore investigated the association between autoantibodies, the risk of developing cancer and the possible link between cancer and scleroderma. The study is entitled “Examination of autoantibody status and clinical features that associate with cancer risk and cancer-associated scleroderma,” and is published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology.

 

FDA Approves Expansion of Pivotal Scleroderma STAR Trial to 20 Clinical Sites

Author: Cytori
Date Published: February-2015
Source: Cytori

Cytori Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CYTX) announced today that it received approval from FDA to expand the number of Scleroderma clinical trial sites from 12 to 20 centers in the United States. The STAR study is an 80 patient pivotal clinical trial approved by FDA in January 2015 to study the effects of Cytori’s lead drug ECCS-50 for treatment of patients with hand manifestations of Scleroderma.

 

New Study Summarizes Scientific Findings Concerning Scleroderma Renal Crisis

Author: Patricia Inacio
Date Published: February-2015
Source: Scleroderma News

In a recent study entitled “Scleroderma renal crisis,” the authors summarize the most recent findings related to scleroderma renal crisis, a serious but treatable complication of systemic sclerosis. The study was published in the journal Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism. Scleroderma (or systemic sclerosis) is an autoimmune disease characterized by skin thickening, a process known as fibrosis. Several complications associated with scleroderma are due to the fibrosis process that is actually not restricted to the skin, reaching in severe cases, internal organs such as kidneys.

 

7 Things You Should Know About Autoimmune Diseases

Author: Sarah Klein
Date Published: February-2015
Source: Huffington Post

As if living with chronic illness wasn't challenging enough, living with an autoimmune disease can be even more difficult. Still highly misunderstood by medical professionals and the public alike, autoimmune diseases are characterized by nebulous symptoms that can make diagnoses difficult to come by. Treatments vary, and in some cases rely entirely on behavior changes. In an effort to making living with -- or loving someone with -- an autoimmune disease just a little bit easier, here are seven important things to know about these health conditions.

 

Researchers Find New Small Molecule Capable of Triggering the Immune System

Author: Patricia Silva
Date Published: April-2015
Source: Scleroderma News

Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and Tsinghua University in China recently published in the journal Science Advances that a specific small molecule is capable of triggering an immune response, having potential biomedical applications for treating diseases such as Scleroderma. The study is entitled “Specific activation of the TLR1-TLR2 heterodimer by small-molecule agonists.”

 

Systemic Sclerosis Patients Are More Prone to Atherosclerosis

Author: Patricia Silva
Date Published: April-2015
Source: Scleroderma News

In a new study entitled “Subclinical atherosclerosis and peripheral vascular disease in systemic sclerosis patients: Relation to potential risk factors,” authors suggest that patients with Systemic sclerosis may have increased risk of developing subclinical atherosclerotic macro vascular disease. The team highlights that further research is necessary to tackle both the cause for increased risk of atherosclerosis and the vessel damage in the SSc patient population. The study was published in the journal The Egyptian Rheumatologist.

 

Actemra Looks Promising in Scleroderma

Author: Nancy Walsh
Date Published: April-2015
Source: MedPage Today

Encouraging results were seen for tocilizumab (Actemra) in the treatment of diffuse systemic sclerosis (SSc) in a proof-of-concept study, an investigator reported here. At 24 weeks, a numerically favorable response was seen on modified Rodnan skin scores among patients randomized to tocilizumab compared with those receiving placebo, with changes of -3.9 units versus -1.2 units, for a difference of -2.70 (95% CI -5.85 to 0.45, P=0.09), according to Christopher P. Denton, MBBS, of University College London.

 

Researchers Report Audiovestibular Dysfunction in Systemic Sclerosis Patients

Author: Patricia Silva
Date Published: February-2015
Source: Scleroderma News

Researchers at Cairo University in Egypt recently published in The Egyptian Rheumatologist journal their findings on auditory dysfunction observed in systemic sclerosis patients. The study is entitled “Otolith function assessment in patients with systemic sclerosis.” Systemic sclerosis, also known as scleroderma, is a rare, chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks healthy tissues resulting in a hardening and tightening of the skin and connective tissues. Scleroderma usually affects the skin, but it can also affect internal organs such as the lungs, blood vessels and the digestive tract, being more common among women than men.

 

Dartmouth Investigators Identify Key Pathways Underlying Different Subsets of Systemic Sclerosis

Author: Kirk Cassels
Date Published: February-2015
Source: Health Canal

Sorting out patients with SSc according to their shared biology, Dartmouth investigators discovered how disease heterogeneity can be defined, allowing for targeted selection of patients for clinical trials. Michael Whitfield, PhD of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth’s Department of Genetics and Norris Cotton Cancer Center, along with Post-doctoral Fellows Michael Johnson, PhD and J. Matthew Mahoney, PhD, led the research, publishing two papers: “Experimentally-Derived Fibroblast Gene Signatures Identify Molecular Pathways Associated with Distinct Subsets of Systemic Sclerosis Patients in Three Independent Cohorts” in PLoS One, and “Systems Level Analysis of Systemic Sclerosis Shows a Network of Immune and Profibrotic Pathways Connected with Genetic Polymorphisms,” in PLoS Computational Biology. Clinical collaborators include Dr. Monique Hinchcliff and Dr. John Varga of Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

 

Fat Tissue May Be Key to Scleroderma's Progression

Author: Nora Dunne
Date Published: February-2015
Source: Northwestern Medicine

Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered that scar-forming cells in scleroderma come from fat tissue within layers of the skin, a new cellular origin that could be a key to developing treatments for the incurable disease in the future. Scleroderma, also called systemic sclerosis, is a rare autoimmune connective tissue disorder in which the skin thickens and hardens, forming scar-like buildup, a process called fibrosis. Until now, scientists have not known the mechanisms responsible for tissue fibrosis.

 

Systolic Pulmonary Arterial Pressure Predicts Mortality Risk in Systemic Sclerosis Patients

Author: Christin Melton, ELS, CMPP
Date Published: February-2015
Source: Rare Disease Report

Findings from the multinational European League Against Rheumatism Scleroderma Trial and Research (EUSTAR) study show that systolic pulmonary arterial pressure (sPAP) is an important prognostic factor for patients with systemic sclerosis (or scleroderma). More specifically, lead author Eric Hachulla, MD, National Reference Center for Scleroderma, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Lille Nord de France, told Rare Disease Report that “an sPAP above 36 mm Hg is an independent predictive factor of death” in this patient population.

 

One Lucky Autoimmune Mom: Strength, Courage & Laughter

Author: Lisa Goodman-Helfand
Date Published: February-2015
Source: Autoimmune Mom

“Sometimes I worry that my disease will taint their childhoods. Then I think of what my scleroderma can teach them.” Playing games on the floor, bicycle riding, swimming, boating, hiking, running, rock climbing, surfing, skiing, scuba diving, and horseback riding; all activities my kids have asked me to do with them. Oh, how I wish that I could do all these things with my son and daughter. The reality is my autoimmune disease prevents me from enjoying these forms of recreation.

 

Systemic Sclerosis in Young People: Imaging Improves Diagnosis

Author: Alisa Woods
Date Published: January-2015
Source: Pulmonary Hypertension News

Radiologists are essential for diagnosis and further testing of pediatric patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), according to a report published by researchers at the University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle. The paper, titled Multimodality Thoracic Imaging of Juvenile Systemic Sclerosis: Emphasis on Clinical Correlation and High-Resolution CT of Pulmonary Fibrosis, appeared in the February 2015 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology. SSc is disease of the connective tissue that involves many different parts of the body. It is characterized by abnormal blood vessels (vasculopathy) and fibrosis — the thickening and scarring of connective tissue.

 

Botulinum Toxin Studied as Therapy for Scleroderma-Associated Raynaud’s Syndrome

Author: Alisa Woods
Date Published: January-2015
Source: Scleroderma News

Botulinum toxin has been very popular for reducing wrinkles and more recently for treating painful conditions. The toxin may soon have a new use for another medical condition. Johns Hopkins University researchers are studying whether botulinum toxin can provide relief to people suffering from scleroderma-associated Raynaud’s Syndrome. Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by hardening connective tissue. Almost all people with scleroderma have Raynaud’s symptoms. In Raynaud’s syndrome, areas of the body such as the fingers and toes feel numb and cold in response to cold or stress. This occurs because small arteries narrow, restricting blood circulation.

 

Negative communication between doctor and patient could make symptoms worse

Author:
Date Published: February-2015
Source: News Medical

Doctors who unintentionally communicate to patients that they don't believe or understand them could actually make symptoms worse, a new study suggests. The research by the Universities of Southampton and Exeter indicates that a type of 'nocebo' response, where patients perceive a lack of understanding or acceptance from their doctor, could create anger and distress - physiological conditions that can worsen illness. "Our work indicates that the effects of patients feeling that their doctor doesn't believe or understand them can be damaging both emotionally and physiologically," says lead author Dr Maddy Greville-Harris, from the University of Southampton. "This could lead to worsening of illness, known as the 'nocebo response'.

 

DETECT, ASIG Algorithms Outperform ESC/ERS Guidelines for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension in Systemic Sclerosis

Author: Daniela Semedo
Date Published: January-2015
Source: Scleroderma News

Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a multisystem connective tissue disease characterized by vasculopathy and fibrosis. Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is one of the most severe organ complications and a leading cause of death in SSc. Estimations are that patients with SSc that have associated PAH have a 3-year survival of just 50%. Since early identification has been found to improve the outcome, researchers have been working on pinpointing the optimal care management for patients with SSc.

 

SSc Patients May Improve with Grafts of Their Own Fat

Author: Alisa Woods
Date Published: January-2015
Source: Scleroderma News

Italian scientists may have identified a way to improve systemic sclerosis (SSc) symptoms with fat grafts. A recent study titled “Autologous Fat Grafting in the Treatment of Fibrotic Perioral Changes in Patients with Systemic Sclerosis” published in the journal Cell Transplantation showed that the fat grafts improved mouth movement, improved blood vessel regrowth, and helped to restore the skin.

 

High Systolic Pulmonary Artery Pressure is a Red Flag in Systemic Sclerosis Patients

Author: Patricia Silva
Date Published: January-2015
Source: Lung Disease News

A recent study published in the journal Rheumatology revealed that a high systolic pulmonary artery pressure (sPAP) can elevate the mortality risk in individuals with systemic sclerosis (SSc). SSc is a rare, chronic connective tissue disease, characterized by increased fibroblast activity which results in abnormal growth of connective tissue and thickening of the skin. It is a disorder more common among women and it has two forms: limited cutaneous, which is restricted to the skin on the face, hands and feet, and diffuse cutaneous that has the risk of progressing to visceral organs such as the lungs.

 

Pain Management During Scleroderma Digital Ulcer Debridement Results In Improved Outcomes

Author: Charles Moore
Date Published: January-2015
Source: Scleroderma News

Controlling procedural pain in the debridement of scleroderma-associated digital ulcers led to better outcomes and treatment adherence among patients, according to recent research. Originally described at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting 2013, the study monitored treatment of 51 digital ulcers in 32 systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients at a rheumatology clinic in Italy between January 2012 and December 2012 inclusive. Procedural pain was addressed in an ascending sequence beginning with local lidocaine and/or prilocaine cream (25 mg/g of either or 5% EMLA cream).

 

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension in Systemic Sclerosis: Improved Screening Methods Identified

Author: Alissa Woods, PhD
Date Published: January-2015
Source: Scleroderma News

A collaborative group of researchers, based in Australia and China, have found that early screening for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in systemic sclerosis (SSc) using two recently developed methods resulted in identification of PAH in 100% of individuals screened. The study, titled A Comparison of the Predictive Accuracy of Three Screening Models for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension in Systemic Sclerosis appeared January 18th, 2015 in Arthritis Research & Therapy.