Dr. Sabrina Hoa, Jewish General Hospital – Lady Davis Institute
(Supervisors: Dr. Marie Hudson and Dr. Sasha Bernatsky)
The finding: Scleroderma (sometimes called systemic sclerosis) is a rare autoimmune disease that involves a build-up of tough scar-like tissue in the skin and sometimes other organs. If the lungs are involved, people can develop a complication called interstitial lung disease (ILD), which can be fatal. Researchers found that drugs that suppress the immune system in people with mild ILD help preserve lung function and prevent ILD progression.
The future: This suggests a promising “window of opportunity” to treat ILD early on, when it is mild, to prevent its progression to a life-threatening complication. With further study, this treatment approach could save lives for those with scleroderma.