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2.
Int J Biochem Cell Biol ; 134: 105961, 2021 Mar 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33662577

RESUMO

Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF, CCN2) is a matricellular protein which plays key roles in normal mammalian development and in tissue homeostasis and repair. In pathological conditions, dysregulated CCN2 has been associated with cancer, cardiovascular disease, and tissue fibrosis. In this study, genetic manipulation of the CCN2 gene was employed to investigate the role of CCN2 expression in vitro and in experimentally-induced models of pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Knocking down CCN2 using siRNA reduced expression of pro-fibrotic markers (fibronectin p < 0.01, collagen type I p < 0.05, α-SMA p < 0.0001, TIMP-1 p < 0.05 and IL-6 p < 0.05) in TGF-ß-treated lung fibroblasts derived from systemic sclerosis patients. In vivo studies were performed in mice using a conditional gene deletion strategy targeting CCN2 in a fibroblast-specific and time-dependent manner in two models of lung disease. CCN2 deletion significantly reduced pulmonary interstitial scarring and fibrosis following bleomycin-instillation, as assessed by fibrotic scores (wildtype bleomycin 3.733 ± 0.2667 vs CCN2 knockout (KO) bleomycin 4.917 ± 0.3436, p < 0.05) and micro-CT. In the well-established chronic hypoxia/Sugen model of pulmonary hypertension, CCN2 gene deletion resulted in a significant decrease in pulmonary vessel remodelling, less right ventricular hypertrophy and a reduction in the haemodynamic measurements characteristic of PAH (RVSP and RV/LV + S were significantly reduced (p < 0.05) in CCN2 KO compared to WT mice in hypoxic/SU5416 conditions). These results support a prominent role for CCN2 in pulmonary fibrosis and in vessel remodelling associated with PAH. Therefore, therapeutics aimed at blocking CCN2 function are likely to benefit several forms of severe lung disease.

4.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33744916

RESUMO

In patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), the coexistence of ANCA-associated vasculitis (SSc-AAV) has been reported to be associated with a severe disease course, including significant pulmonary and renal involvement. The presence of ANCA is not uncommon in patients with SSc and therefore clinicians must maintain a high index of clinical suspicion about SSc-AAV. p-ANCA and anti-MPO antibodies are the most common antibodies observed. Patients typically present with clinical features of microscopic polyangiitis or renal-limited vasculitis There are multiple areas of potential interaction in the pathogenesis of SSc and AAV which can exacerbate/compound vascular disease. In addition, similar patterns of major internal organ involvement (e.g., lung and kidneys) are seen in both conditions. We highlight a diagnostic approach to SSc-AAV and the paucity of data to inform management. As such, SSc-AAV is typically treated as per isolated AAV which can potentially be hazardous in patients with SSc (e.g., the association between high-dose steroid and scleroderma renal crisis). We propose that this rare clinical entity warrants rigorous investigation including definition of a therapeutic strategy to ameliorate the potentially devastating combination of pathologies in SSc-AAV.

7.
Arthritis Rheumatol ; 2021 Feb 03.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33538094

RESUMO

OBJECTIVE: Tocilizumab has demonstrated lung function preservation in two randomized controlled trials in early systemic sclerosis (SSc). This effect has yet to be characterized in terms of quantitative radiographic lung involvement. In this post-hoc analysis, we assess tocilizumab's impact on lung function preservation, stratifying treatment arms by the degree of radiographic lung involvement. METHODS: The focuSSced trial was a phase 3, randomized placebo-controlled trial of tocilizumab in patients with SSc and progressive skin disease. Participants had baseline and serial spirometry along with high resolution chest CT at baseline and week 48. Quantitative interstitial lung disease and fibrosis were derived using computer software. We divided quantitative interstitial lung disease in mild (5-10%), moderate (>10-20%), or severe (>20%) categories. RESULTS: Of 210 participants recruited in the trial, 136 [65%] had interstitial lung disease. The majority of these participants had moderate-to-severe involvement defined by >10% lung involvement (77%). The tocilizumab arm demonstrated preservation of forced vital capacity over 48 weeks (least squared mean change in %predicted = -0.1) compared to placebo (-6.3%). For mild, moderate, and severe QILD, the mean decline in the %pFVC in the tocilizumab arm at 48 weeks were -4.1, 0.7, and 2.1, and in the placebo group were -10.0, -5.7, and -6.7, respectively. Similar treatment-related preservation findings were seen independent of fibrosis severity. CONCLUSION: Tocilizumab in early SSc- associated interstitial lung disease with progressive skin disease stabilized forced vital capacity over 48 weeks, independent of the extent of quantitative radiographic interstitial lung disease or fibrosis.

9.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33580257

RESUMO

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate clinical associations of anti-PM/Scl antibodies in patients with Systemic Sclerosis (SSc) in a multicentre international cohort, with particular focus on unresolved issues, including scleroderma renal crisis (SRC), malignancies, and functional outcome of interstitial lung disease (ILD). METHODS: (1) Analysis of SSc patients from the EUSTAR database: 144 anti-PM/Scl+ without SSc-specific autoantibodies were compared to 7,202 anti-PM/Scl-, and then to 155 anti-Pm/Scl+ with SSc-specific antibodies. (2) Case-control study: additional data were collected for 165 anti-PM/Scl+ SSc (85 from the EUSTAR registry), and compared to 257 anti-PM/Scl- SSc controls, matched for sex, cutaneous subset, disease duration, and age at SSc onset. RESULTS: Patients with isolated anti-PM/Scl positivity, as compared with anti-Pm/Scl-, had higher frequency of muscle involvement, ILD, calcinosis and cutaneous signs of dermatomyositis, but similar frequency of SRC and malignancies (either synchronous with SSc onset or not). The presence of muscle involvement was associated with a more severe disease phenotype. Although very frequent, ILD had a better functional outcome in cases than in controls.In patients with both anti-PM/Scl and SSc-specific antibodies, a higher frequency of typical SSc features than in those with isolated anti-PM/Scl was observed. CONCLUSION: The analysis of the largest series of anti-PM/Scl+ SSc patients so far reported helps to delineate a specific clinical subset with muscle involvement, cutaneous dermatomyositis, calcinosis, and ILD characterized by a good functional outcome. SRC and malignancies do not seem to be part of this syndrome.

10.
Lancet Respir Med ; 9(1): 96-106, 2021 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33412120

RESUMO

BACKGROUND: In the Safety and Efficacy of Nintedanib in Systemic Sclerosis (SENSCIS) trial, nintedanib reduced the rate of decline in forced vital capacity (FVC) in patients with systemic sclerosis-associated interstitial lung disease (SSc-ILD). Patients on stable treatment with mycophenolate for at least 6 months before randomisation could participate. The aim of this subgroup analysis was to examine the efficacy and safety of nintedanib by mycophenolate use at baseline. METHODS: The SENSCIS trial was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, in which patients with SSc-ILD were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive 150 mg of oral nintedanib twice daily or placebo for at least 52 weeks. In a prespecified subgroup analysis, we analysed the primary endpoint of rate of decline in FVC over 52 weeks by mycophenolate use at baseline. In a post-hoc analysis, we analysed the proportion of patients with an absolute decrease in FVC of at least 3·3% predicted at week 52 (proposed minimal clinically important difference estimate for worsening of FVC in patients with SSc-ILD) in subgroups by mycophenolate use at baseline. Adverse events were reported in subgroups by mycophenolate use at baseline. Analyses were done in all participants who received at least one dose of study drug. We analysed the annual rate of decline in FVC using a random coefficient regression model (with random slopes and intercepts) including anti-topoisomerase I antibody status, age, height, sex, and baseline FVC as covariates and terms for baseline-by-time, treatment-by-subgroup, and treatment-by-subgroup-by-time interactions. SENSCIS is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT02597933, and is now complete. FINDINGS: Between Nov 30, 2015, and Oct 31, 2017, 819 participants were screened and 576 were enrolled, randomly assigned to, and treated with nintedanib (n=288) or placebo (n=288). 139 (48%) of 288 in the nintedanib group and 140 (49%) of 288 in the placebo group were taking mycophenolate at baseline. In patients taking mycophenolate at baseline, the adjusted mean annual rate of decline in FVC was -40·2 mL per year (SE 19·8) with nintedanib and -66·5 mL per year (19·3) with placebo (difference: 26·3 mL per year [95% CI -27·9 to 80·6]). In patients not taking mycophenolate at baseline, the adjusted mean annual rate of decline in FVC was -63·9 mL per year (SE 19·3) with nintedanib and -119·3 mL per year (19·0) with placebo (difference: 55·4 mL per year [95% CI 2·3 to 108·5]). We found no heterogeneity in the effect of nintedanib versus placebo on the annual rate of decline in FVC between the subgroups by mycophenolate use (p value for interaction=0·45). In a post-hoc analysis, the proportion of patients with an absolute decrease in FVC of at least 3·3% predicted was lower with nintedanib than with placebo in both patients taking mycophenolate (40 [29%] of 138 vs 56 [40%] of 140; odds ratio 0·61 [0·37 to 1·01]) and those not taking mycophenolate (59 [40%] of 149 vs 70 [47%] of 148; 0·73 [0·46 to 1·16]) at baseline. The adverse event profile of nintedanib was similar between the subgroups. Diarrhoea, the most common adverse event, was reported in 106 (76%) of 139 patients in the nintedanib group and 48 (34%) of 140 in the placebo group among those taking mycophenolate at baseline, and in 112 (75%) of 149 in the nintedanib group and 43 (29%) of 148 in the placebo group among those not taking mycophenolate at baseline. Over the entire trial period, 19 patients died (ten in the nintedanib group and nine in the placebo group). One death in the nintedanib group was considered to be related to study drug. INTERPRETATION: Nintedanib reduced the progression of interstitial lung disease both in patients with SSc-ILD who were and were not using mycophenolate at baseline, with no heterogeneity in its treatment effect detected between the subgroups. The adverse event profile of nintedanib was similar in the subgroups by mycophenolate use. Our findings suggest that the combination of mycophenolate and nintedanib offers a safe treatment option for patients with SSc-ILD. More data are needed on the benefits of initial combination therapy versus a sequential approach to treatment of SSc-ILD. FUNDING: Boehringer Ingelheim.


Assuntos
Indóis/uso terapêutico , Doenças Pulmonares Intersticiais/tratamento farmacológico , Ácido Micofenólico/uso terapêutico , Inibidores de Proteínas Quinases/uso terapêutico , Escleroderma Sistêmico/tratamento farmacológico , Progressão da Doença , Método Duplo-Cego , Feminino , Humanos , Indóis/efeitos adversos , Doenças Pulmonares Intersticiais/etiologia , Masculino , Pessoa de Meia-Idade , Inibidores de Proteínas Quinases/efeitos adversos , Escleroderma Sistêmico/complicações , Resultado do Tratamento
12.
Respirology ; 2020 Dec 17.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33336433

RESUMO

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The course of systemic sclerosis-associated interstitial lung disease (SSc-ILD) is highly variable, and accurate prognostic markers are needed. KL-6 is a mucin-like glycoprotein (MUC1) expressed by type II pneumocytes, while CYFRA 21-1 is expressed by alveolar and bronchiolar epithelial cells. Both are released into the blood from cell injury. METHODS: Serum KL-6 and CYFRA 21-1 levels were measured in a retrospective (n = 189) and a prospective (n = 118) cohort of SSc patients. Genotyping of MUC1 rs4072037 was performed. Linear mixed-effect models were used to evaluate the relationship with change in lung function parameters over time, while association with survival was evaluated with Cox proportional hazard analysis. RESULTS: In both cohorts, KL-6 and CYFRA 21-1 were highest in patients with lung involvement, and in patients with extensive rather than limited ILD. KL-6 was higher in patients carrying the MUC1 rs4072037 G allele in both cohorts. In patients with SSc-ILD, serum KL-6, but not CYFRA 21-1, was significantly associated with DLCO decline in both cohorts (P = 0.001 and P = 0.004, respectively), and with FVC decline in the retrospective cohort (P = 0.005), but not the prospective cohort. When combining the cohorts and subgrouping by severity (median CPI = 45.97), KL-6 remained predictive of decline in DLCO in both milder (P = 0.007) and more severe disease (P = 0.02) on multivariable analysis correcting for age, gender, ethnicity, smoking history and MUC1 allele carriage. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest serum KL-6 predicts decline in lung function in SSc, suggesting its clinical utility in risk stratification for progressive SSc-ILD.

14.
Ann Rheum Dis ; 2020 10 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33004331

RESUMO

OBJECTIVES: Genomic Risk Scores (GRS) successfully demonstrated the ability of genetics to identify those individuals at high risk for complex traits including immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs). We aimed to test the performance of GRS in the prediction of risk for systemic sclerosis (SSc) for the first time. METHODS: Allelic effects were obtained from the largest SSc Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) to date (9 095 SSc and 17 584 healthy controls with European ancestry). The best-fitting GRS was identified under the additive model in an independent cohort that comprised 400 patients with SSc and 571 controls. Additionally, GRS for clinical subtypes (limited cutaneous SSc and diffuse cutaneous SSc) and serological subtypes (anti-topoisomerase positive (ATA+) and anti-centromere positive (ACA+)) were generated. We combined the estimated GRS with demographic and immunological parameters in a multivariate generalised linear model. RESULTS: The best-fitting SSc GRS included 33 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and discriminated between patients with SSc and controls (area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC)=0.673). Moreover, the GRS differentiated between SSc and other IMIDs, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjögren's syndrome. Finally, the combination of GRS with age and immune cell counts significantly increased the performance of the model (AUC=0.787). While the SSc GRS was not able to discriminate between ATA+ and ACA+ patients (AUC<0.5), the serological subtype GRS, which was based on the allelic effects observed for the comparison between ACA+ and ATA+ patients, reached an AUC=0.693. CONCLUSIONS: GRS was successfully implemented in SSc. The model discriminated between patients with SSc and controls or other IMIDs, confirming the potential of GRS to support early and differential diagnosis for SSc.

15.
J Rheumatol ; 2020 Oct 01.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33004536

RESUMO

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effects of abituzumab in systemic sclerosis-associated interstitial lung disease (SSc-ILD). METHODS: STRATUS was a Phase II, double-blind, parallel-group, multicenter trial (NCT02745145). Adults (≤75 years) with SSc-ILD on stable mycophenolate were randomized (2:2:1) to receive intravenous abituzumab 1500 mg, placebo, or abituzumab 500 mg every 4 weeks for 104 weeks. Primary endpoint: annual rate of change in absolute FVC. RESULTS: STRATUS was terminated prematurely due to slow enrolment (n=75 screened, n=24 randomized), precluding robust analysis of efficacy. Abituzumab was well-tolerated; no new safety signals were detected. CONCLUSION: Further investigation of abituzumab for treatment of SSc-ILD is required.

16.
Ann Rheum Dis ; 79(12): 1600-1607, 2020 12.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32963047

RESUMO

OBJECTIVES: Recent advances in systemic sclerosis (SSc) show that it involves a T-helper type-2-oriented immune response with interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13. Romilkimab is an engineered, humanised, bispecific immunoglobulin-G4 antibody that binds and neutralises IL-4/IL-13 making it ideal for exploration in fibrosis. METHODS: Patients aged ≥18 years diagnosed with diffuse cutaneous SSc (dcSSc), and with or without immunosuppressive background therapy, were randomised (1:1) to subcutaneous romilkimab 200 mg or placebo one time per week for 24 weeks in this double-blind, proof-of-concept, phase II study. The primary endpoint was change in modified Rodnan skin score (mRSS) from baseline to week 24. RESULTS: Ninety-seven patients were randomised to romilkimab (n=48) or placebo (n=49) for 24 weeks. Least-squares mean (SE) change in mRSS was -4.76 (0.86) for romilkimab versus -2.45 (0.85) for placebo yielding a mean (SE) (90% CI) difference of -2.31 (1.21) (-4.32 to -0.31; p=0.0291, one-sided). Treatment-emergent AEs were balanced between placebo (n=41; 84%) and romilkimab (n=40; 80%). Most were mild-to-moderate and discontinuations were low (three overall). There were two deaths (one scleroderma renal crisis (romilkimab) and one cardiomyopathy (placebo)), neither were considered treatment related. Two patients in the placebo group had a cardiovascular treatment-emergent SAE (one cardiac failure, one cardiomyopathy), but there were no cardiac safety signals with romilkimab. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated significant effects on skin changes with romilkimab in early dcSSc that require confirmation with a longer and more comprehensive phase III study to determine clinical relevance. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT02921971.

17.
Clin Rheumatol ; 2020 Sep 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32915347

RESUMO

INTRODUCTION: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a rare condition that can be complicated by interstitial lung fibrosis (SSc-ILD)-a major cause of mortality. This study explored information and communication needs of patients with SSc-ILD and their carers to understand what they are and whether they are met. METHODS: Qualitative research was performed, including in-depth individual interviews and observed conversations between pairs of patients, physicians and nurses, and between patients and physicians discussing experiences of SSc-ILD. The study was performed in Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the USA. Participants included 42 SSc-treating physicians, 21 patients with diagnosed SSc-ILD, 16 specialist nurses and five carers. RESULTS: Prognosis and mortality were the main unspoken topics acknowledged by patients, carers and healthcare professionals. Patients and carers felt afraid to ask physicians about mortality, and most physicians reported avoiding the question because their duty was to give patients hope and avoid causing additional distress. Patients often felt unable to ask physicians about relationships, family and work because of time constraints or because they felt these were not topics physicians would be concerned about. Often, specialist nurses felt that they had insufficient knowledge to provide adequate support. CONCLUSION: Key topics, including mortality and prognosis, are rarely openly discussed, leaving patients uncertain and anxious about the future. By communicating about difficult but important topics, physicians and nurses could help patients and carers manage and plan their lives. This study shows that a multi-professional team-based communication approach is likely to better address patient needs and priorities. KEY POINTS: • Key topics in SSc or SSc-ILD, such as mortality and prognosis, are rarely openly discussed in clinical consultations. • By communicating difficult but important topics, physicians and nurses could help patients manage their disease and plan their lives. • A multi-professional team-based communication approach is likely to better address patient needs and priorities and could be easily implemented without the need for significant additional resources.

18.
Lancet Respir Med ; 8(10): 963-974, 2020 10.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32866440

RESUMO

BACKGROUND: A phase 2 trial of tocilizumab showed preliminary evidence of efficacy in systemic sclerosis. We assessed skin fibrosis and systemic sclerosis-associated interstitial lung disease (SSc-ILD) in a phase 3 trial to investigate the safety and efficacy of tocilizumab, an anti-interleukin-6 receptor antibody, in the treatment of systemic sclerosis. METHODS: In this multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial, participants were recruited from 75 sites in 20 countries across Europe, North America, Latin America, and Japan. Adults with diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis for 60 months or less and a modified Rodnan skin score (mRSS) of 10-35 at screening were randomly assigned (1:1) with a voice-web-response system to receive subcutaneous tocilizumab 162 mg or placebo weekly for 48 weeks, stratified by IL-6 levels; participants and investigators were masked to treatment group. The primary endpoint was the difference in change from baseline to week 48 in mRSS. Percentage of predicted forced vital capacity (FVC% predicted) at week 48, time to treatment failure, and patient-reported and physician-reported outcomes were secondary endpoints. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov (number NCT02453256) and is closed to accrual. FINDINGS: Between Nov 20, 2015, and Feb 14, 2017, 210 individuals were randomly assigned to receive tocilizumab (n=104) or placebo (n=106). In the intention-to-treat population, least squares mean [LSM] change from baseline to week 48 in mRSS was -6·14 for tocilizumab and -4·41 for placebo (adjusted difference -1·73 [95% CI -3·78 to 0·32]; p=0·10). The shift in distribution of change from baseline in FVC% predicted at week 48 favoured tocilizumab (van Elteren nominal p=0·002 vs placebo), with a difference in LSM of 4·2 (95% CI 2·0-6·4; nominal p=0·0002), as did time to treatment failure (hazard ratio 0·63 [95% CI 0·37-1·06]; nominal p=0·08). Change in LSM from baseline to week 48 in Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index and in patient-global and physician-global visual analogue scale assessments did not differ between tocilizumab and placebo. In the safety set, infections were the most common adverse events (54 [52%] of 104 participants in the tocilizumab group, 53 [50%] of 106 in the placebo group). Serious adverse events were reported in 13 participants treated with tocilizumab and 18 with placebo, primarily infections (three events, eight events) and cardiac events (two events, seven events). INTERPRETATION: The primary skin fibrosis endpoint was not met. Findings for the secondary endpoint of FVC% predicted indicate that tocilizumab might preserve lung function in people with early SSc-ILD and elevated acute-phase reactants. Safety was consistent with the known profile of tocilizumab. FUNDING: F Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.


Assuntos
Anticorpos Monoclonais Humanizados/uso terapêutico , Escleroderma Sistêmico/tratamento farmacológico , Adulto , Estudos de Coortes , Método Duplo-Cego , Feminino , Humanos , Masculino , Pessoa de Meia-Idade , Escleroderma Sistêmico/diagnóstico , Escleroderma Sistêmico/fisiopatologia , Fatores de Tempo , Resultado do Tratamento , Capacidade Vital
19.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32829395

RESUMO

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between proton pump inhibitor (PPI) use and the presence and severity of calcinosis in SSc. METHODS: We analysed data from two SSc cohorts from a single centre. Cohort 1 included 199 patients reviewed over 10 years, for whom retrospective data on PPI use and calcinosis were available. Cohort 2 was recruited prospectively and included 215 consecutive patients, who underwent clinical assessment. Outcomes of interest were presence of current calcinosis (CC) or calcinosis at any time (CAT). RESULTS: The cohort 1 data analysis showed that among patients on standard dose PPI 20% had calcinosis, while in those on high doses of PPI calcinosis was present in 39% (P = 0.003). Analysis of the data from cohort 2 confirmed these findings, demonstrating that the odds of CAT increased significantly with longer PPI exposure [odds ratio (OR) 1.04, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.06; P < 0.001], longer disease duration (OR 1.08, 95% CI: 1.05, 1.12; P < 0.001) and greater age (OR 1.03, CI: 1.01, 1.05; P = 0.010). Multivariable logistic regression showed that higher exposure to PPI remained a significant predictor of calcinosis, with PPI exposure >10 years increasing the risk of CAT >6-fold, compared with no PPI (OR 6.37, 95% CI: 1.92, 21.17; P = 0.003) after adjusting for disease duration and antibodies. CONCLUSION: We confirm a significant association between high PPI exposure with severity of calcinosis in SSc. Given the clinical impact of calcinosis and reflux in SSc, PPI exposure as a potentially modifiable risk factor for calcinosis requires further evaluation.

20.
Eur J Rheumatol ; 7(Suppl 3): S242-S248, 2020 Oct.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32697934

RESUMO

There have been many recent trials in systemic sclerosis (SSc) that have explored treatment for skin or lung. Some have been encouraging, but there has also been disappointment reflecting potential limitations of treatment effect of study design. These trials are discussed and reviewed. Studies conducted in SSc are described and discussed with a focus on endpoint selection and trial design as well as potential mechanism of action and treatment effect. Studies have included very encouraging trials of interleukin 6 blockade, immunosuppression, and broad-spectrum tyrosine kinase inhibition. Other trials including recent studies of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor agonists and specific intracellular signaling inhibitors such as imatinib or anti-transforming growth factor beta blocking strategies have been more disappointing. Trial design is improving, and overall, there are now almost positive trials using agents with great promise, and studies are also providing important biological insight into SSc. It is hoped that ongoing studies will further progress the field and move it toward better treatments for SSc that still represent a major unmet medical need.

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