Lisa Arkin, MD: New Research, Therapies for Patients with Scleroderma

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In this segment of her interview, Dr. Arkin was asked about news, recent research, and therapies for patients with scleroderma, in honor of National Scleroderma Awareness Month.

During her interview with HCPLive, Lisa Arkin, MD, further described her experiences as a pediatric dermatologist treating patients with scleroderma, sharing her insights on breakthroughs and future research into the skin condition.

In addition to being a pediatric dermatologist, Arkin is also a member of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine & Public Health / American Family Children's Hospital.

“I think we really are on the horizon of more targeted therapeutics, probably for both systemic sclerosis and morphea, due to studies that have elucidated the immunology driving the disorders,” Arkin explained. “In particular, the type 1 interferon response, which is targetable with JAK inhibitors, is probably going to be the future in terms of how we think about treatment, particularly for refractory cases.”

She added that even in the most refractory cases of morphea, leveraging that interferon response with JAK inhibition has been shown in smaller series of patients to be helpful. (there are no clinical trials of morphea).

“For systemic sclerosis, most patients are treated with mycophenolate mofetil, which really has become our go-to for softening the skin,” Arkin said. “And there's decades of data around that.” For linear morphea, methotrexate or mycophenolate are standard of care and most patients respond to these interventions.

Arkin then added, however, that advances in research may end up changing the landscape in major ways for patients with scleroderma.

“As we come to better understand what's happening, not just in the skin, but in the systemic immune response, those targeted treatments are going to advance,” she explained. “JAK inhibition certainly is being trialed in patients with systemic scleroderma.”

She later added that this treatment does harbor some risk, particularly for older patients, so finding the right population and ensuring that the treatment is both safe and effective may be yet to come.

"But that's really also why we do all these clinical trials," Arkin stated. "To find therapies that are going to have that balance between safety and efficacy and really have the best profile for affected patients."

To learn more about research into scleroderma, view the interview segment posted above.

The quotes contained in this synopsis were edited for clarity.