Research Strategy

Areas of research we fund

The four main areas of research we are funding are:

  • finding a cure
  • improving treatments
  • working towards an earlier diagnosis
  • improving the care and services that people with scleroderma and Raynaud's receive.

These areas reflect the priorities identified in a survey of stakeholders carried out in Spring 2017, full details of which can be downloaded below.

Research area 1: Finding a cure

We will support research into finding a cure for scleroderma and Raynaud's. This includes understanding the causes and underlying mechanisms of both conditions and may include looking into the genetic and environmental factors contributing to the development of scleroderma and Raynaud's. Identifying risk factors that may predict whether a person is likely to develop one or both conditions and finding ways to prevent an outbreak are also important aspects of this area of research.

Research area 2: Improving treatments

Improving the treatment of scleroderma and Raynaud's may slow down progression and prevent further damage to the organisations that are involved. Slower progression and improved tolerance towards the treatment may lead to a significant increase in quality of life. Moreover, if, for example, issues like fatigue could be addressed, this may enable people to take part in social activities and hold a job, both of which could greatly improve people's wellbeing.

Research area 3: Working towards an earlier diagnosis

Earlier diagnosis of the conditions may have a significant impact on their progression. We will therefore encourage research into finding better methods by which to detect the onset of the conditions, which may include research into biomarkers and imaging methods. This research area also includes increasing awareness of both conditions, so healthcare professionals are better able to diagnose the complex symptoms and early signs of scleroderma and Raynaud's.

Research area 4: Better provision of care and services

Supporting this area will lead to new insights into how the special needs of people affected by scleroderma and Raynaud's can be met by means other than just medical treatment. This may include providing psychological support and information, assessing and meeting the special and individual needs of people affected by the conditions. The overall aim is to encourage research into relieving the symptoms of scleroderma and Raynaud's with methods other than medical treatment.