What is research doing for me?

Date: Sat 2nd April 2016

Prof. Denton, Consultant Rheumatologist at the Royal Free Hospital, London opened the World Systemic Sclerosis Congress with a presentation on 'What is research doing for me?' This uplifting and informative presentation highlighted the positive breakthroughs taking place in scleroderma research.

Prof. Denton highlighted the difference now compared to 15 years ago. Now we have access to effect treatments and within the UK work is taking place to develop pathways so patients can access treatments licensed for similar conditions i.e. Arthritis.

Three studies were discussed, all of which have given positive initial results with further studies taking place:

1. Recital - conducting trials on the effectiveness of Rituximab as a treatment for lung fibrosis.

2. TGF Beta - a successful trial blocking the TGF Beta protein to improve skin score (reduce skin thickening).

3. IL6 - licensed drug for other conditions (Arthritis) which improves inflammation. Initial trials have improved skin score and has shown potential that it could improve lung fibrosis.

We spoke with Prof. Denton after his presentation and he said, “there is more research into scleroderma than ever before and it is helping to understand the disease better. This research includes a lot of international and national collaboration and builds upon the success of many previous projects including work funded by SRUK (SS and RSA) in the UK.

Despite this there is still an enormous unmet need for patients. Also the journey from research to new treatments is a long one but fortunately clinical trials are ongoing and hopefully will lead to new and better treatments for the skin, lung and other complications of scleroderma.

The exciting thing about current trials is that not only may they lead to better or new treatments but they also offer the potential to better understand the underlying causes of scleroderma and its complication."

This video includes presentations on stem cell and lung transplants.