Scleroderma research isn’t one size fits all–each investigator approaches it from a specific angle. For Dr. Zsuzsanna McMahan of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, this means focusing her research on clinical and translational research relating to gastrointestinal (GI) complications of scleroderma patients. Gastrointestinal disease is a common and often early complication for scleroderma patients. Its presentation varies from patient to patient, meaning that in individual patients, different parts of the digestive tract can be affected.
Dr. McMahan is working to subgroup patients. This means that she is combining patients with similar patterns of GI dysfunction into smaller groups so that different patterns of disease can emerge and can be distinguished from others. Dr. McMahon hopes that this information may help physicians better understand how the GI tract is malfunctioning in the different subgroups. Furthermore, this could even potentially aid in developing more tailored treatments for the different subgroups of patients.