Grants awarded

In June 16

Derrett-Smith (UCL): “Molecular pathway analysis of keloidal morphea in systemic sclerosis"

Keloidal morphea is rare and therefore poorly understood, particularly when it develops in patients with co-existing scleroderma. Its development sometimes determines the decision to commence immunosuppressive drugs, though the rationale for doing so is not strong. The results from this study with patient samples will shed light on why some individuals develop keloidal morphea and the best ways to treat them.

Holmes et al (UCL): “The role of Endothelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition in scleroderma calcinosis"

Calcinosis occurs in up to 40% of scleroderma patients. Current therapies are limited and offer little benefit, because the biological processes that contribute to the development of calcinosis remain unknown. The endothelial cells lining blood vessels in scleroderma may change their properties and express genes leading to calcinosis and inflammation, a process known as endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Our studies with cultured endothelial cells will seek to understand how this happens and whether we can block it.

Pain (Liverpool, Alder Hay): “Assessing inflammation in childhood scleroderma: comparison of imaging and skin examination"

The effects of scleroderma on a growing child can be harsh: skin thickening limits bone and soft tissue growth, which can lead to deformity, disability and disfigurement. Treatment is with drugs that suppress the immune system which is thought to be overactive in this condition and causing inflammation, but getting the dose right is important as the drugs can have unwanted side-effects. This project aims to identify better ways to measure skin inflammation and so treat children appropriately.

Pauling et al, University of Bath: An Epidemological Study of Systemic Sclerosis and its association with Cancer in the UK using the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD)"

This study will examine healthcare information from nearly 20 million UK residents and provide up to date figures on the number of patients in the UK with scleroderma whether the number of new patients with this disease is rising or falling. We will also examine the relationship between scleroderma and cancer to understand whether there is any link between the two conditions.

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