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 :

» When Our Antibodies Turn On Us

More than 32 million Americans harbor potentially toxic proteins that can attack body tissues and lead to autoimmune diseases such as Lupus and , according to a new study. This is the first accurate estimate of the frequency of the proteins, called...

» A Scleroderma Fact Sheet

Below, is a very useful fact sheet on Scleroderma. Making for much easier reading and reference, this fact sheet highlights what Scleroderma is, how is it diagnosed, who gets it, complications which may arise, and how it can be treated. Feel free to...

» Simple Predictor In Scleroderma Related Interstitial Lung Disease

Patients at high risk of deterioration or death from Systemic Sclerosis-related interstitial lung disease can be readily spotted using CT scans, suggest Melbourne researchers.Patients classified as having “extensive” (> 20%) lung disease as...

» Free the Free Radicals

We’re all used to hearing that everything we once thought was good for us is not. But even within that framework, the latest science about , free radicals and exercise is telling. As many of us have heard, free radicals are molecules created by...

» Children Get Scleroderma Too

Juvenile is a rare childhood condition characterized by fibrosis of the skin and internal organs. Clinical manifestations of childhood Scleroderma are different from adult disease and early recognition, correct classification and treatment can...

» Researchers Revisit Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) Survival

Setting out to determine the survival of patients with (PAH), researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center and their colleagues also discovered that an equation used for more than 20 years to predict survival is outdated. Accordingly,...

Add comment

Do feel free to leave your comments, as they would add value and knowledge to the community. However, please refrain from making any disparaging, uninformed, or unrelated comments. Thanks :)

Security code
Refresh