Scleroderma is a rheumatic autoimmune disease of the connective tissue which causes skin thickening, spontaneous scarring, blood vessel disease and varying degrees of inflammation. As there is currently no cure for scleroderma, treatments generally focus on minimizing particular symptoms.
In the United States, approximately, 300,000 people (1 in 1000) are affected by scleroderma. Although it is a rare disease, it can be devastating, and finding new treatments is vital. Women are four times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. While it appears to run in families, as of yet, no gene associated with the disease has been identified.
The Rheumatology Department at Virginia Mason has a long history of caring for patients with scleroderma. Research at BRI leverages knowledge from that medical specialty and includes:
BRI partners with Virginia Mason clinicians to investigate new treatment options for scleroderma.
Scientists leverage the Rheumatic Disease Biorepository to advance knowledge about the disease and identify potential new therapies.
Researchers study the genetic signature of the disease and using tetramer technology to gain a better understanding of how the immune system contributes to the progression of scleroderma.