2009 Research

The 2009 Scleroderma Australia Grants have been awarded to 
Dr. Pravin Hissaria and Dr. David Prior.

Dr. Pravin Hissaria: Division of Human Immunology, IMVS/SA Pathology
Dr. Hissaria is the immunology staff specialist at IMVS/SA Pathology and Royal Adelaide Hospital. She has received numerous awards and, most recently, was invited as a guest speaker at the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPA) annual conference in Sydney.

Identification of novel markers in pathological fibrosis in Scleroderma skin lesions.

We know very little about how Scleroderma develops. This study will look at why cells change their basic characteristics in this disease. This is a relatively new approach and, if proven, the aim is to exploit the regulatory mechanisms of this phenomenon to reverse fibrosis.

Dr. David Prior: Department of Cardiology & Theumatology, St. Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne.
Dr. Prior is a cardiologist and researcher with interests in heart failure, echocardiography and pulmonary hypertension. He has been an invited speaker at national and international meetings in these areas and is currently head of the Cardiology Outpatient Clinic at St. Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne.

Assessing early pulmonary hypertension in Scleroderma.

High blood pressure in the lungs or pulmonary arterial hypertension occurs in 25% of patients with scleroderma, causing breathlessness and eventually heart failure and death. Threatment, which can improve symptoms and life expectancy, is usually started late because current tests for the disease only detect an abnormailty after there is significant irreversible damage to lung blood vessels. This study will examine whether a new ultrasound stress test can detect early abnormalities of lung flow in patients with Scleroderma.

Further Study

As well as the above, you might be interested to know that general research funds were awarded to another Scleroderma study entitled "Measurement and applicability of Scleroderma finger clawing; determinants of dorsal finger ulceration."
This study aims to assess certain measures to find the most sensitive and reproducible way to detect early clawing. It is hoped that this measure will be adopted internationally as a useful tool to estimate the success of one Scleroderma treatment over another.


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Please note: The new phone number for the Scleroderma Association of Queensland is 07 32773460. Our postal has changed too; it is PO Box 316, SALISBURY Qld. 4107. The new physical address of our office is 124A Evans Road Salisbury. If you would like to come and browse through some books in our library or have a chat or help, please visit on Wednesday between 9:30 and 12 midday.