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Scleroderma Association of B.C. Research

SABC Genome Research Project

The aim of the SABC Genome Research Project is to identify biomarkers specific to people who have pulmonary fibrosis caused by systemic sclerosis (scleroderma).   Being able to distinguish between pulmonary fibrosis that is idiopathic (of various or unknown origin) or the result of scleroderma will allow medical professionals to provide patients with an accurate diagnosis. Identifying reliable biomarkers also provides an opportunity to develop a functional cure; an ongoing treatment that corrects and prevents the disease from continuing to damage the affected organs (in this case, lungs). 

SABC funds and co-leads a research study that began recruiting scleroderma patients with and without interstitial lung disease (ILD) in July 2017.  Blood samples have also been taken from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) only and both blood and skin samples have been taken from control participants. This research program is creating a firm foundation for intensive research to control lung and skin damage in patients with scleroderma and lung damage in patients with IPF, with the expectation of receiving future support from donations and, hopefully, research funding agencies.

Researcher profiles

Research Study Progress


March 2021

In February 2021, Dr. Keen completed the biostatistical analysis of the biomarker laboratory results obtained before the holiday break in December 2020.  The second biomarker laboratory work and biostatistical analysis are planned for early in the second quarter of 2021.  Preparation of the samples  for the confirmatory miRNA analysis were completed before the end of March 2021.  These will be processed by  the BC Genome Sciences Centre hopefully in April 2021 so that the bioinformatic and biostatistical analyses can be completed, or at least preliminary results, by the end of June 2021.

Research Team

The research team brings together experts in respirology, rheumatology, bioinformatics, and genetical statistics to uniquely tackle this challenge.  The team is led by SABC President Rosanne Queen, SABC past President Bob Buzza, Drs. James Dunne and Kevin Keen.  Drs. Raewyn Broady, Robert Holt, Chris Ryerson and Pearce Wilcox round out the scientific research team. 

Both Rosanne and Bob participate on the leadership team to keep us informed on the progress of this SABC-funded research program and to ensure the interests of patients and their families are at the forefront.