Researchers have previously described a relationship between scleroderma and cancer. In particular, a subset of patients is diagnosed with both cancer and autoimmune disease at approximately the same time. This has led investigators to wonder if the two processes may be mechanistically connected.
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Christine G. Joseph, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore and colleagues investigated this question and published their results online Dec. 4, 2013, in Sciencexpress. Their research not only sheds light on the pathogenesis of scleroderma, but also supports the role of acquired immunity in controlling cancer.
“The connection between cancer and the autoimmune diseases has been tantalizing. … In some ways, what is surprising, is that the connection may be quite simple,” explained lead investigator Antony Rosen, MD, in a phone interview with The Rheumatologist.