murray baron smInvestigators: Dr. Murray Baron, Dr. Tracy Frech

Research Institutions: Sir Mortimer B Davis Jewish General Hospital (Montreal, Canada), University of Utah

Disease: Systemic Sclerosis

Research Description: Systemic Sclerosis (SSc), or scleroderma, is a rare, serious multi-system disorder of connective tissue disease. Patients who suffer from this condition have a thickening and hardening of the skin and connective tissues, and the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is the most commonly involved internal organ in SSc. Decreased motility of the bowel in SSc leads to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), which contributes to symptoms such as pain, fatigue, depression and malnutrition. Treatment for SIBO consists of antibiotics and drugs to increase GIT motility, yet no standard protocol or studies on how to best use these treatments exists. The research team has developed a detailed treatment protocol for SIBO, which they will test at multiple global clinical locations, including sites in the U.S. and Canada. The protocol also includes methods to screen for SIBO. The goal of this three-year project is to improve patient symptoms and outcomes by creating a standardized method for diagnosing and treating SIBO, a clinical consequence of SSc. This research will be supported through a collaborative funding effort between Cures Within Reach and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, designed to fund proof of concept repurposing clinical trials in rare diseases and to promote collaboration between U.S. and Canadian research institutions.

CWR funding role: Administrative support only

Start date: March 2017

Most recent report: Online questionnaires in multiple languages and reporting systems have been finalized, and pilot locations will begin collecting data in the next reporting period.

Anticipated next steps:

→ Data published in a scientific journal and/or presented at a scientific conference 

→ Data support a change in clinical practice 

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