Diagnostic Markers and New Therapeutic Strategies in Systemic Sklerosis

Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is an immune mediated systemic disease of unknown etiology that is difficult to treat. Dysregulated vascular and immunological events lead to the development of fibrotic processes in the skin and inner organs e.g. the lungs, kidneys or the gastrointestinal tract associated with severe functional impairments. SSc is not only associated with a reduced quality of life  but also with a decreased life expectancy. Accordingly, there is a high medical need for new efficient therapeutic options. As the chances to improve late stage fibrotic changes are still rather limited a refinement of diagnostic procedures in early phases of SSc associated vasculopathy is a prerequisite for the development new therapeutic interventions. The research activities aim at the establishment of new predictive biomarkers by serological and fluorescence optical imaging studies in initialen phases of SSC.

Selected Publications

Wagner A, Köhm M, Nordin A, Svenungsson E, Pfeilschifter JM, Radeke HH. Increased Serum Levels of the IL-33 Neutralizing sST2 in Limited Cutaneous Systemic Sclerosis. Scand J Immunol. 2015; 82:269-74.

Hunzelmann N, Riemekasten G, Becker M, Moinzadeh P, Kreuter A, Melchers I, Mueller-Ladner U, Meier F, Worm M, Lee H, Herrgott I, Pfeiffer C, Fierlbeck G, Henes J, Juche A, Zeidler G, Mensing H, Günther C, Sárdy M, Burkhardt H, Koehm M, Kuhr K, Krieg T, Sunderkötter C. The Predict Study: Low risk for digital ulcer development in Systemic Sclerosis patients with increasing disease duration and lack of topoisomerase-1 antibodies. Br J Dermatol. 2015 Dec 26. doi: 10.1111/bjd.14367. [Epub ahead of print]

Kowal-Bielecka O, Avouac J, Pittrow D, Huscher D, Behrens F, Denton CP, Foeldvari I, Humbert M, Matucci-Cerinic M, Nash P, Opitz CF, Rubin LJ, Seibold JR, Strand V, Furst DE, Distler O; Expert Panel on Outcomes Measures in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Related to Systemic Sclerosis. Analysis of the validation status of quality of life and functional disability measures in pulmonary arterial hypertension related to systemic sclerosis: results of a systematic literature analysis by the Expert Panel on Outcomes Measures in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension related to Systemic Sclerosis (EPOSS). J Rheumatol. 2011; 38:2419-27.