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Understanding complex correlations

Responsible for chronic inflammations is most likely not one but many factors: the lifestyle, smoking or food pattern and environmental factors like bacteria, viruses, air pollutants are suspected to be able to cause but also to prevent chronic inflammations.

In the Cluster of Excellence "Inflammation at Interfaces" scientists study all possible factors which could contribute to inflammatory processes becoming chronic. They study cells but also the complex relation between genes, organs, food pattern and environmental factors. 

It is most common that interdisciplinary teams consisting of medical doctors, basic scientists like evolutionary biologists or molecular biologists work on one and the same scientific question. Thus, trying to get new insights, which didn’t exist before. This approach is unique for inflammation research in Germany.

In order to trace disease genes, the genotype (genetic material) of thousands of patients will be meticulously searched. The samples will be archived in huge biobanks. In search of potential molecular or genetic peculiarities, researchers in the field of inflammation search for irregularities in the activity of the immune system and carefully examine bacteria and viruses down to their most microscopic components. Also in focus are the smallest functional units of the human organ, the cells. For only at the cellular level does it become clear what really occurs during inflammation. Particularly of interest are the processes that take place before the activity of the immune system becomes so destructive.

This multitude of highly differentiated insights that arise from the concerted research leads to new insights into the disease causes and events. In this, the direction of research distances itself from the definition of symptoms of an individual organ and goes to the identification of a superordinate, previously unknown mechanism. The goal of this comprehensive approach is to develop innovative treatments and new pharmaceuticals which specifically target the immune system and are directed against inflammation. Such targeted interventions in the inflammatory process are already being simulated in complex model systems also to eliminate possible side effects of these completely new therapies.

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