Dr. Jessica Gordon (Hospital for Special Surgery) is interviewed about CONQUER
Scleroderma can manifest in many different ways. Some patients have fibrotic skin disease while others do not. Some patients have lung disease, heart disease, or gastrointestinal disease while other patients have many affected organs. Why is this and why is it so difficult for physicians to predict an individual patient’s disease course? Similarly, scleroderma patients need and are treated with many different therapies that span from simply monitoring the disease coupled with symptomatic therapy (e.g. H2 blockers and PPIs for heartburn/reflux) all the way to aggressive therapy aimed at modifying their underlying disease, such as chemotherapeutic immune system resetting with autologous stem cell rescue. What is the right therapy for any one patient and what is the range of outcomes that patient might expect? Unfortunately, the answers to critical questions such as these are not fully understood and comprehensive data does not yet exist to allow researchers to evaluate them.
The path to answering these questions requires tracking and collecting data on the health status, disease complications, treatments and outcomes of many patients over many years. The Scleroderma Research Foundation began developing the CONQUER Registry in 2013 with the goal of defining the epidemiology of scleroderma in the current era by enrolling a large group of patients and building a powerful database to track them. Data will be collected over the course of the normal clinic visits – ultimately for thousands of patients over many years. The data generated through the CONQUER Registry will allow researchers to refine disease subsets (going beyond “diffuse” and “limited”) and track patient outcomes for each subset with the aim of enabling more precise and tailored care for individual patients.