The news of the FDA granting breakthrough therapy designation to a new drug known as Actemra has brought hope to Scleroderma patients.
June, 2015, brought good news and hope to thousands of people affected with Scleroderma as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted the designation of breakthrough therapy to the drug Actemra. This designation aims to fast track the process of review and approval for medicines that display strong promise to treat grave diseases and make them available to patients at the earliest.
Scleroderma, also referred to as systemic sclerosis, is a chronic disease that affects around 75,000 to 100,000 people in the United States and approximately 2.5 million people worldwide. Out of these, over 75 per cent of patients are women in the age group of 30 to 50 years. At the moment there is no treatment that is FDA-approved for this rare autoimmune disease. Some characteristics of these disease do have treatments available, but none exists that can be used to either halt or reverse the key symptom of this disease– the thickening and hardening of skin.
Systemic sclerosis, although not a contagious disease, can be potentially life-threatening. It affects connective tissues in various parts of the human body and is characterized by thickening of the skin and muscles.
This rare disease causes abnormalities in the blood vessels, besides bringing about degenerative changes in the joints, skin, and internal organs such as the lungs and heart—parts that are related to collagen accumulation.
Apart from hardening of the skin, symptoms of Scleroderma include:
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