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Quantifying Soft Tissue Fibrosis

Fibrosis or scarring of the soft tissues results in loss of flexibility, often pain and has a significant detrimental impact on patient function and quality of life. Fibrosis occurs in patients with scleroderma and in 50% of patients treated with radiotherapy for various cancers, notably breast and head and neck cancer and extremity soft tissue sarcoma. In order to understand which patients are at risk for fibrosis and to evaluate new treatments that might prevent or treat fibrosis, we need to be able to measure the severity of fibrosis using robust measures. The current measures do not have the properties of reliability, validity and ability to detect change that are required. The proposed work evaluates these measurement properties in two new measures, one a clinician-rating scale and the other a quantitative measure of biomechanical properties of the skin. If these measures prove to be reliable, valid and responsive, these initial studies will provide the basis for evaluating the effectiveness of different interventions for preventing and treating soft tissue fibrosis by providing robust outcome measures.

This project is funded from 2004 to 2007 by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

ACREU Investigator: Dr. Aileen Davis