A live webinar exploring the development of Pulmonary Fibrosis in Scleroderma patients will be hosted by Dr. Paul Wolters, Director of Biological Research at the Interstitial Lung Disease Program at University of California San Francisco (UCSF), on Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. PST. The presentation is called “Emerging Therapies in Pulmonary Fibrosis: Their Relevance for Scleroderma Patients,” and aims to educate the audience about the diagnosis and the relevance of early management of the disease for scleroderma patients, particularly as it relates to the possible onset of pulmonary fibrosis. It will be the 16th of an ongoing educational series available live on the Scleroderma Research Foundation’s website.
Dr. Paul Wolters is an expert in connective tissue disorders and their involvement in the lung, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering with interstitial lung disease. His research is focused on understanding the molecular pathogenesis of fibrotic lung disease and its translation into new therapies.
“The field of fibrosis research is progressing rapidly. Two new drugs have been shown this past year to slow progression of lung fibrosis, proving that it can be effectively treated. By advancing the understanding of the molecular causes of fibrosis, new therapies for scleroderma should be developed in the near future,” Dr. Wolters explained in a press release.
What Is Scleroderma?
The word scleroderma means hard skin, but its effects go beyond the skin. Scleroderma is a rare autoimmune disease that can affect internal organs, leading to severe life-threatening consequences. Women represent 80 percent of the Scleroderma patient population, and their ages vary between 20 and 50 years old. The disease is characterized by immune dysregulation, widespread vascular abnormalities, and fibrotic complications affecting multiple organs such as lung and skin. Its impact on the lungs leads to the development of pulmonary fibrosis. Researchers are still trying to understand Scleroderma’s possible causes: it is not a contagious disease, and it is not inherited through the genetic pathway. There is no cure for it, and the available treatment options act to ease the symptoms and do not stop the disease from progressing.
The Scleroderma Foundation is the first foundation in America focused on nonprofit investment in scleroderma research. Its goal is the empowerment of scientists to work together against the disease. It was founded in 1987 by Sharon Monsky, who passed away in 2002 because of scleroderma. Currently, Dr. Luke Evnin, Ph.D., a dedicated investor in life sciences, scleroderma patient and managing partner of MPM Capital, is Chairman of the foundation.