Hamilton Scleroderma Group (HSG)

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With a theme of “collaboration, communication and catalyst”, the HSG is a team of dedicated clinicians, researchers, and educators who share a common interest in improving the quality of care for persons living with scleroderma.  The HSG's strategy to accomplish this goal is three-fold:

  • Improve clinical care for patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) by providing prompt access to a team of dedicated experts
  • Enhance scleroderma education
  • Increase our understanding of scleroderma through basic science and clinical research

Improving Access to Clinical Care

  • Leading the way in patient care, the HSG specializes in the care and treatment of people living with scleroderma. All of the HSG doctors are attending physicians at St. Joseph’s Healthcare and faculty members at McMaster University Medical School. 
  • Dr. Maggie Larché leads the team  as the HSG Executive Chair with Dr. Nader Khalidi and Dr. Gerard Cox as Co-Chairs.  A  model of comprehensive care for patients with systemic sclerosis has emerged with the establishment of collaborative clinics at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Combined Rheumatology /Respirology  and Rheumatology/Respirology/Nephrology Clinics for SSc patients are coordinated through the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health. Additional sub-specialists (such as Nephrologists, Gastroenterologists, Immunologists, Cardiologists and Dermatologists.) provide timely consultations, depending on the patient’s care requirements. SSc patients who have multi-system involvement and require expert inputs from a range of sub-specialties for optimal management of their condition will benefit from the HSG’s circle of comprehensive care model, shown below. Other sub-specialists (i.e. psychiatrists, dieticians, wound care specialist nurses, physiotherapists or occupational therapists) canbe accessed, on an as needed basis, depending on patients’ needs.
From left to right:  Barbara, Sarah, Ellen, Dr. Margettes, Dr. Khalidi, Dr. Mark Larche, Diane, Dr. Maggie Larche, Dr. Mazzadi, Brian (missing from photo: Dr. Kolb, Dr. Coxe, Dr. Margetts, Dr. Kitching)

From left to right:  Barbara, Sarah, Ellen, Dr. Margettes, Dr. Khalidi, Dr. Mark Larche, Diane, Dr. Maggie Larche, Dr. Mazzadi, Brian (missing from photo: Dr. Kolb, Dr. Coxe, Dr. Margetts, Dr. Kitching)

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Enhancing Education

  • The Scleroderma Society of Ontario, lead by Mrs Maureen Sauvé has generously funded the initiation and ongoing efforts of  the HSG.

  • The HSG is pleased to announce the creation of the “Goodale Doctoral Studentship” in acknowledgement of the efforts of Mrs Irene Goodale to promote scleroderma care. This prestigious award provides opportunity for dynamic students, like Jewel Imani, to learn the necessary skills for successful medical research. Recipients of the Goodale Doctoral Studentship will be encouraged to continue a lifelong pursuit of inquiry in the area of systemic sclerosis, so that new scientific discoveries will be made and translated into improved treatments and patient care.

Ellen McDonald, in the role of Patient Research Educator, facilitates patient access to specialized care.  Ellen provides, in consultation with the HSG Executive, current evidence-based information regarding care and treatment for persons living with scleroderma.  Additionally, Ellen acts as a liaison with the medical community in order to assess educational needs and to facilitate training and program development

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Increasing Basic Science and Clinical Research

Two mouse models of scleroderma are currently in development, under the supervision of Dr. Mark Larché and Dr. Peter Margetts. PhD candidate Jewel Imani, has been working on the modification of an existing “sclerodermatous graft-versus-host disease” model and the development of a new “fibrotic scleroderma” model through the expression and delivery of a pro-fibrotic molecule. Successful development of a scleroderma mouse model will allow the pre-clinical evaluation of novel treatment interventions such as peptide-based vaccines. Clinical research projects currently in progress include those that are supervised by Dr. Mark Larché (Characterization of Immune Responses to Scleroderma / Systemic Sclerosis Self-Proteins), Dr. Allan Kitching and Dr. Nader Khalidi (Clinical Investigation into the Determinants of Exercised Induced Pulmonary Hypertension), Dr. Martin Kolb and Dr. Peter Margetts (The Role of Fibrocytes in the Development of Fibrotic Reponses in the Lung and Kidneys) and Dr. Nader Khalidi and Dr. Maggie Larché (The Canadian Scleroderma Research Group Study, The Systemic Sclerosis Genome Study, and The Methods to Measure Fatigue and to Identify Factors Related to Fatigue in Scleroderma Study).