Skin dynamic stiffness, tracked longitudinally, can be used to identify clinically important changes in sclerotic chronic graft versus host disease (cGVHD), according to new research published in Bone Marrow Transplantation. The study addresses the growing interest in more reproducible measures for grading cGVHD sclerosis than the current gold standard, the NIH skin score, which is considered coarse and subjective.
“We really don’t have a way that is very sensitive to tell if patients with sclerotic cGVHD are getting better,” said Eric Tkaczyk, M.D., lead author on the study and director of the Vanderbilt Dermatology Translational Research Clinic at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
“Clinicians are put into the difficult situation of giving patients significant treatments that have severe side effects and not knowing whether the patient’s disease status is improving or worsening,” Tkaczyk said. “We’re hopeful that this objective approach to measuring sclerosis might be used to guide patient care and the development of new treatments.”
The study is one of the largest longitudinal quantitative studies of sclerotic cGVHD to date.