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Searched keyword : Immunogenetics
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Chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, spondyloarthritis (SpA) and psoriasis cause significant morbidity and are a substantial burden for the affected individuals and the society. An important obstacle to early diagnosis and the development of more specific and effective therapies is the very limited understanding of the pathogenesis of these diseases. In the past years genome-wide association studies have identified many genes that were not known to be involved in pathogenesis, and have linked several genes in immune pathways to inflammatory diseases, indicating that the immune system plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of these diseases. The current challenge is to correlate these genetic variants with the effector mechanisms implicated in pathogenesis, to allow translation of the genetic data into relevant diagnostics and innovative treatment strategies. To meet this challenge, we have designed a clinical study that examines the immune signaling pathways, the transcriptional networks and the genotype in the same SpA patient, in order to establish a link between genetic variation, cellular phenotype and function, and pathology. This approach will advance our understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms, and identify novel and relevant diagnostic tools, therapeutic targets and biomarkers. The long-term outcome of this strategy will be the rational design of specific therapies tailored to the genotype of the patient.