Geneticists Hunt for Scleroderma Triggers PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 29 October 2009 20:50
In all its forms, Scleroderma gives Dartmouth geneticist Michael Whitfield, his graduate students, and his postdoctoral researchers a sense of urgency in their search for the triggers of the chronic condition.

In a study that the Journal of Investigative Dermatology published in its October 2009 edition, Whitfield's team reports a closer connection between a gene profile for the profibrotic pathway TGF-beta and a tendency in some Scleroderma sufferers to develop lung problems.

Jennifer Sargent, who recently earned her Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from DMS, is lead author of the study, which analyzed the previously-identified TGF-beta pathway signature in skin biopsies from patients and healthy control subjects from around the country.

"The finding that a gene signature expressed in skin is associated with the occurrence of lung disease is surprising and to our knowledge is previously unreported," the report says. "ILD [interstitial lung disease] is the leading cause of death among patients with dSSc [diffuse systemic sclerosis]. Recent work has developed tools and methods for diagnosis, staging, and characterization of ILD in dSSc patients; however, biomarkers that reliably predict who will develop lung complications before they become symptomatic would be beneficial."

In collaboration with M. Kari Connolly, a professor of dermatology at the University of California-San Francisco, Whitfield, an associate professor of genetics at DMS, and his researchers began creating a map of skin to profile the molecular behavior of genes in scleroderma in 2001.

"Several different pathways likely contribute to the gene expression subsets in scleroderma, and each subset may need to be treated differently," Whitfield says, before adding, "We're getting inquiries from rheumatologists and companies that are looking at drug trials."

For a link to the original article, click here.
 
More articles :

» New Site For Adult Stem Cell Resources Launched

A new website is detailing success stories in adult stem cell research. is part of a campaign to educate and spread awareness about the potentials and successes of adult stem cell therapies, and was created by the Family Research Council and...

» Dysexecutive Syndrome A Specific Pattern of Cognitive Impairment in Systemic Sclerosis

Systemic sclerosis (SSc), also called scleroderma, is a connective-tissue disorder characterized by obliterative microvascular lesions and diffuse interstitial fibrosis. SSc damages the small and medium-sized vessels serving the skin, joints...

» New Promising Therapy Against Systemic Sclerosis

There is a new path to defeat systemic sclerosis, also called because of the hardening of the skin of the patients (from Greek skleros, "hard", and derma, "skin"). This path involves the B-cell of the immune system, so far only considered "innocent...

» CREST Syndrome

Those with often have all or some of the symptoms that some doctors call CREST, which can be characterized by the following: Calcinosis Cutis: is the term used to describe a group of disorders in which calcium deposits form within connective...

» Rheumatologist Receives Scleroderma Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award

In a recent article, it was reported that ,  Gerald P. Rodnan Professor of Medicine, , received the 's Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his service to the community. The award is the foundation's highest honor and is presented to...

» January 26th Lunch & Learn Event on Sjogren’s Syndrome

For those of you in the state of Texas, Northwest Rheumatology, a division of Northwest Diagnostic Clinic, will host a free Lunch & Learn event on Sjogren’s Sydrome: The Forgotten Disease on Tuesday, Jan. 26, from 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the...