Cancer Drug Could Fight Scleroderma

The anti cancer-drug paclitaxel (Taxol) may also prevent skin thickening and small blood vessel destruction in people with scleroderma, according to a study that offers new clues into the causes of the debilitating disease. Scleroderma is a chronic, life-threatening degenerative disease characterized by tissue damage, including hardening of the skin, shrinking of muscles and damage to organs and blood vessels. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center also found that a scleroderma patient's own immune system may interfere with the body's ability to repair damage, particularly injury to small arteries. The findings appear in this week's issue of the journal Public Library of Science Medicine. Their research in mice has proven so promising that the Duke team is now planning to test their findings in a clinical trial.

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