Scleroderma, also known as systemic sclerosis is a chronic systematic autoimmune disease of skin that results in hardening of skin. The exact cause of the disease is still unrevealed; however, scientists believe that genetic and environmental factors are the cause for systemic sclerosis. Mutations in human leukocyte antigen (HLA) are expected to be the most important mutation that is responsible for causing systemic sclerosis. Aromatic and chlorinated solvents, trichloroethylene, white spirits, silica and ketones are some of the environment components that are responsible in causing scleroderma. These factors result in scleroderma but in a small proportion.
Ulcers on the fingertips, palpitations, skin and mucousal telangiectasis, irregular heart rate, congestive heart failure, hypertension, loss of appetite and sicca syndrome are some of the most common symptoms of scleroderma. Other symptoms include loosening of teeth and hoarseness, diarrhoea alternating with constipation, shortness of breath, loss of joint range of motion and muscle aches.
Scleroderma is of two types: limited scleroderma and diffuse scleroderma. Limited scleroderma mainly affects face, hands and arms. They are also limited to cutaneous layer only of the skin and were previously termed as CREST syndrome. Diffuse scleroderma affects one or more internal organs (oesophagus, lungs, kidneys and heart) and also large area of the skin.
Scleroderma results in amplified synthesis of collagen, activation of T lymphocytes, damage to blood vessels (small) and production of altered connective tissues. Diagnosis of scleroderma is difficult by only physical appearance many times skin do not show redness or other symptoms for scleroderma and the disease may show only finger swelling and organ alterations. Laboratory tests are able to detect the presence of anticentromere antibodies, antitopoisomerase antibodies (anti-scl70) and anti-U3. Presence of these antibodies in the body will confirm the occurrence of the disease and hence accordingly treatment will be started.
No cure is available for scleroderma till date however patient’s quality of life can be increased with various medications that act on the symptoms to reduce their activities. Calcium channel blockers, local nitrates, alpha blockers, statins, angiotensin II receptor inhibitors and serotonin receptor antagonists are the drugs that are advised for various cardiovascular symptoms of scleroderma such as regular heart rate and congestive heart failure. Phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitors and bosentan are advised to the patients suffering from digital ulcers. Some other medications that are advised for scleroderma include tetracycline antibiotics, azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, prostanoids and prokinetics.
The market for scleroderma diagnostics and therapeutics has immense potential to show significant growth during the forecast period 2014 to 2020. Change in environment due to pollution is propelling the growth of scleroderma diagnostics and therapeutics market. Increasing number of industries and other basic requirements of human being such as vehicles results in pollution. The gases that cause pollution are increasing in volume. This further augments the incidence rate for scleroderma amongst population. Hence, rising incidences of scleroderma associated with environment changes, will undoubtedly accentuate the demand for scleroderma diagnostics and therapeutics. Similarly, increasing incidences of genetic mutations in population will also expedite the growth of scleroderma diagnostics and therapeutics market.
Some of the major players operating in scleroderma diagnostics and therapeutics market include 3M Company, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., Genzyme Corporation, Sanofi, MedImmune, LLC, GlaxoSmithKline plc, BioLineRx, Ltd., arGentis Pharmaceuticals, LLC, FibroGen, Inc., Bayer AG, Accentia Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., Therametrics holding AG, Daval International Ltd., iBio, Inc., Digna Biotech, S.L. and Celgene Corporation among other significant players across the globe.
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