Scleroderma Center

Center Mission

  • To provide state of the art, multidisciplinary care for patients with scleroderma
  • To provide education and support for scleroderma patients and their families
  • To provide access to new therapies for scleroderma via clinical trials
  • To engage in clinical, translational and basic laboratory research on scleroderma to contribute to finding the cause and cure of scleroderma.

Center Goals

  • To recruit new and current faculty members with an interest in vascular biology, genetics and fibrosis
  • To hire needed staff in the areas of data management, research coordination and laboratory assistance
  • To establish and name a scleroderma-dedicated research technician position
  • To establish and name a research fellowship and recruit a qualified research fellow
  • To obtain additional space for research as needed
  • To improve patient education resources (website, newsletters)
  • To develop other activities including a journal club, annual research symposium, travel awards for fellows and joint research grant proposals with non-Center investigators

Finding a Cure – Basic and Translational Research

The Center includes 5 full-time faculty members and 5 research staff. We currently collaborate with faculty from 8 other Divisions/Departments within the School of Medicine and a number of investigators from other institutions.

Our major resources include large, longitudinal databanks, serum and DNA banks, and tissue specimens (autopsies, skin/lung biopsies and lung transplant tissues). We have registries for systemic sclerosis in twins, childhood onset systemic sclerosis, and localized scleroderma and Raynaud disease.

Faculty clinical interests include the epidemiology, clinical and serologic classification of disease, organ system involvement, natural history and survival of systemic sclerosis and localized forms of scleroderma. Areas of translational research include vascular stiffness and endothelial dysfunction in SSc, serum cytokines as markers of vascular and endothelial dysfunction, immune cell and fibroblast dysfunction, and genetic contributions to disease etiology. Other emphases include basic pathophysiologic mechanisms involved in fibrosis of the skin and lungs, animal models of fibrosis, lung fibroblast function in interstitial lung disease, pulmonary arterial hypertension, immunologic mechanisms in gastrointestinal hypomotility, cardiac disease in SSc, and abnormal T-cell function.

Over the past 40 years, we have published over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles, and over 100 textbook chapters and other invited works on scleroderma and related diseases. We have trained 6 fellows who have gone on to develop scleroderma patient care and research programs at other institutions, nationally and internationally.

Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN)
SPIN-SHARE: Supporting People Living with Scleroderma

The Scleroderma Patient-centered Intervention Network (SPIN) is taking another step towards fulfilling its mission of supporting people living with scleroderma from around! SPIN is thrilled to announce the launch of the SPIN-SHARE platform, through which toolkits will be released publicly after being tested through the SPIN Cohort.

To have access to SPIN online toolkits, login or register at: tools.spinsclero.com. SPIN Cohort users can login directly and public users will need to register first, in 4 easy steps.

 

SPIN-HAND: SPIN’s First Publicly Accessible Toolkit for Hand Function

The first publicly accessible SPIN toolkit, SPIN-HAND, is now available online through the new SPIN-SHARE platform. Once you login to the SPIN-SHARE platform, you will see the SPIN-HAND toolkit. The HAND program provides different levels of exercises to improve hand function with sections to help you develop a personalized program, set goals, and track your progress. Instructional videos demonstrate how to perform each exercise properly with pictures to illustrate common mistakes.

 

More toolkits will be made available soon! Click here to register now: https://tools.spinsclero.com/

 

For Patients

How do I make an appointment?

The first step is to contact our clinic’s new patient coordinator, Maureen Laffoon. Maureen can be reached via phone at 412-648-7871, or by email at laffoonm@pitt.edu. Maureen will work with you to make your appointment at the Center, coordinate appointments with other specialists, and answer questions about insurance, travel and overnight accommodations. Patients under age 16 are seen at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh location. Appointments can be made at the Children’s Hospital at (412) 692-5081.

Adult Scleroderma Patient Appointments:

Adult patients are seen at the Falk Medical Building, Arthritis and Autoimmune Center.

To speak to the New Patient Appointment Coordinator, call Jessica Monastiro at 412-864-7055 or email Jessica at rheumreasearch@upmc.edu.

Falk Medical Building, Suite 2B
3601 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Pediatric Scleroderma Patient Appointments:

Pediatric patients are seen at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pediatric Rheumatology Clinic. The Pediatric Scleroderma Clinic is directed by Dr. Kathryn Torok.

To speak with an appointment scheduler, call 412-692-5081 (option 1), between 8:00am and 4:00pm Monday through Friday.

Contact Us

Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology Offices

S700 Biomedical Science Tower
3500 Terrace Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
412-383-8000  |  Email Us

For Patients

412-647-6700