Dr. Kathryn S. Torok's laboratory conducts multiple juvenile scleroderma clinical and translational research studies, including hosting the National RegiChildhood-Onsetood Onset Scleroderma (NRCOS) at the University of Pittsburgh. The lab's primary areas of focus include discovery of juvenile scleroderma immunophenotypes and biomarker development, genomic analyses to determine genetic links to disease activity and progression, and development and validation of outcome measures in pediatric scleroderma. These themes are both interwoven and complementary to achieve our research team’s overall goal of providing better care for patients with pediatric-onset scleroderma.
Pediatric localized scleroderma (LS) and systemic sclerosis (SSc) are disfiguring autoimmune diseases of the skin and underlying tissues. Smoldering disease activity leads to fibrosis and atrophy, causing physical and psychological disability that continues throughout childhood into adulthood. Available therapies for LS and SSc are variably effective and are associated with morbidity themselves. A better understanding of the pathophysiology of LS and SSc, especially during the active inflammatory phase, would lead toward more targeted and effective therapies. Our lab uses multiple approaches to increase understanding of LS and SSc, including disease immunophenotyping, genomic analyses, and quality of life measures.