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Brief Summary

Chronic inflammation through a disturbed interaction between environment and barrier organs is one of the major problems in medicine. The cluster has delivered deep insights into the molecular etiology of chronic inflammatory barrier diseases in the 1st FP, which was based on its access to very large patient cohorts, to key technologies and a strong interdisciplinary approach. For the first time entire metabolic and signalling pathways were systematically identified, which lead from primary genetic susceptibility to macromorphologic manifestation. With the new structure of Comprehensive Centers of Inflammation Medicine (CCIM), an interdisciplinary clinical environment has been established, where therapies for patients with complex diseases are selected through an institutionalized discussion between different medical (sub)specialties including the decision for therapeutic experiments. Most importantly the CCIM stably links access to patients and basic sciences.

While the hypothetical disease model for the 1st FP was leading the research process in a linear fashion from a few anticipated disease genes to structure, evolutionary and functional annotation and exploration in patients, the unprecedented complexity and breadth of etiologic findings prompts now for a different approach. In the 2nd FP, a research strategy has been developed in which research areas (RA) investigating in depth key genetic, genomic and functional elements of inflammatory etiopathology interact with cluster laboratories (CL). The cluster aims to describe an individual molecular efficacy signature for therapies in patients, which can be mirrored in genetically conditioned model systems and will prompt individual choices of anti-inflammatory therapies in the future. The setup of a medical systems biology and a massive investment in IT are important pre-requirements. The ultimate goal of the cluster is to define inflammatory barrier disease at early, not yet clinical, stages once it has reached a point-of-no-return and to develop rationale interventions which intercept the further course.

Figure: Depicts scientific structure of the cluster forming a interactive research matrix with Cluster Laboratories (red) and Research Areas (blue).

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