The Scleroderma (Systemic Sclerosis) Center at The Boston Medical Center (Boston University School of Medicine) is a collaboration of the Pulmonary and Rheumatology Departments. The Center is recognized Internationally as a leader in scleroderma, and provides for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with Systemic Sclerosis. The Center is closely linked to National Institute of Health and Industry sponsored clinical, translational and basic research, including the Scleroderma Lung Study (SLS), a collaboration of 14 clinical scleroderma centers in the United States. Our Mission is to provide patients with systemic sclerosis state-of-the-art patient care and the opportunity to participate in advanced therapeutic research which both improves patient quality of life and provides for a basis for understanding the pathogenesis of the disease.
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is classified as a collagen vascular disease, but its most catastrophic involvement is in the lungs. Eighty percent of patients with SSc develop interstitial lung disease at some point during their life with mortality from this accounting for 25-40 % of all deaths. A smaller percentage of patients develop pulmonary hypertension. Recognition of the severity of lung involvement in SSc led to the development of The Scleroderma Center at The Boston University School of Medicine, which is comprised of members from the Rheumatology and Pulmonary Departments. The Departments work in close collaboration both to provide patient care and to recruit subjects for clinical and basic science research.
Pulmonary Division involvement in the Scleroderma Center is directed by Arthur C. Theodore, Associate Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine who has an international reputation in the diagnosis, treatment, and investigation of interstitial lung disease in Systemic Sclerosis and is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Theodore is an acknowledged expert in the field of alveolitis and interstitial lung disease in systemic sclerosis and has presented symposia in scleroderma lung disease at both the meetings of the American College of Chest Physicians in Seattle, Washington, the American Thoracic Society in San Diego, California, and online at MedScape.com and PatientPower.info. Patients with pulmonary hypertension are cared for by Dr. Harrison Farber, Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Robert Simms, Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine directs the Rheumatology section’s involvement in the The Scleroderma Lung Center. Both Dr. Theodore and Dr. Simms are listed in the Guide to Top Doctors published by the Washington, D.C.-based Center of Study of Services. Dr Theodore is also listed in the Consumer Research Council of America’s Guide to America’s Best Physicians and was named Strathmore’s Who’s Who Professional of the Year in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine for 2008 .
Patients with Systemic Sclerosis are referred to The Scleroderma Center from within Boston Medical Center, throughout New England, the Continental United States and Internationally. Some patients come only for an initial evaluation, second opinion or establishment of the diagnosis of lung disease while others may be followed for years. Approximately 50-100 new referrals per year are seen at The Scleroderma Center which provides patient care based on state-of-the-art clinical practice and translational/clinical research with extensive Research and Clinical programs in Molecular and Cell Biology, Immunology, Biochemistry, and Epi-demiology. All clinical care is provided at Boston Medical Center, where a full range of invasive and non-invasive Medical, Surgical and Radiologic subspecialists are available. Research is supported by grants from the NIH and private donations from pharmaceutical companies and organiz-ations committed to finding the cause and treating patients with systemic sclerosis.
The Scleroderma Center has been at the forefront in the treatment of alveolitis with intravenous cyclophosphamide. Initially pioneered by the late Dr. Joseph H. Korn, Chief of Rheumatology, the Center has experience in the treatment of several hundred patients with SSc alveolitis. The center provides for a full range of diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities which include:
- Diagnosis and Initial Assessment of patients with Systemic Sclerosis including high resolution chest CT scanning, pulmonary function testing, bronchoalveolar lavage and pulmonary artery catheterization
- Secondary and Tertiary Referrals from the Western Hemisphere for management of complex cases of systemic sclerosis
- Ongoing treatment for multi-system Systemic Sclerosis, including pulmonary interstitial, pulmonary vascular, gastrointestinal, skin, cardiac and renal involvement
- Use of immunosuppressive, receptor antagonist and transplantation (e.g. cyclphosphamide, azathioprine, Bosentan, and bone marrow transplantation) for initial and maintenance treatment
- Participation in clinical trials and on-going Investigator-initiated and Industry-sponsored research with the goal of establishing efficacy and advancing knowledge about the pathogenesis and treatment of Systemic Sclerosis
- Innovative therapies for recurrent and/or refractory disease
- Arthur C. Theodore, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Principle Investigator of the Scleroderma Lung Study at Boston University School of Medicine
- Harrison Farber, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Center, specializing in treatment of Scleroderma patients with pulmonary hypertension
- Robert W. Simms, MD, Professor of Medicine and Acting Director of the Division of Rheumatology and the Scleroderma Center
- Peter A. Merkel, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Associate Director of Clinical Trials, Rheumatology Division
- Robert A. Lafyatis, M.D, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Rheumatology Division
- Kim Tobin, Clinical Coordinator, Rheumatology Division
- Eugene Y. Kissin, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Rheumatology Division