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 :

» Survival In Systemic Sclerosis-Associated Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a severe complication of systemic sclerosis (SSc) and one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in this disease. Although several recent studies have suggested an improvement in the prognosis of...

» Scleroderma in Children: Emerging Management Issues

Saumya PandaDepartment of Dermatology, KPC Medical College, Kolkata, IndiaDate of Web Publication: 21-Jul-2010Abstract         Scleroderma is a set of rare connective tissue diseases of unknown etiology. It is...

» Special Surgery Scientists To Share Advances in Lupus and Related Conditions

Hospital for Special Surgery physicians who focus on lupus, scleroderma and related conditions are traveling from New York City to Atlanta this week to share their recent findings at the 74th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of...

» 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...

» Moves Toward Personalized Medicine for Scleroderma

researchers have received two five-year grants totaling $953,000 from the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases to study , an autoimmune disease for which there currently is no...

» Adult Stem Cells Are Helping Scleroderma Patients

Dr. Richard Burt and colleagues at Northwestern University have just published a new study in that provides more evidence for the success of adult stem cell transplant in treating System Sclerosis ().Ten patients were treated with their own adult...