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Combating Chronic Inflammatory Disease: New EU Project SYSCID Receives Almost 15 Million Euros

The international consortium of the new European research project SYSCID (“A systems medicine approach to chronic inflammatory disease“) aims to develop a personalised medicine approach for inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.

The project coordinated by Kiel University in Germany (CAU) receives a total funding of 14.4 million Euros for a period of five years. Academic and industry partners from nine different countries join forces to achieve the ambitious goals of the project which has started at the beginning of 2017. With a lifetime prevalence of over ten percent in the EU, chronic inflammatory disease (CID) poses a major health care burden to modern society. “Our vision is to develop a prediction framework for disease outcome and choice of treatment strategies. With many new targeted therapies coming to the market, we need the right therapy at the right time,” said Dr Philip Rosenstiel from the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology at Kiel University and scientific coordinator of the SYSCID consortium. “Our approach combines several biomarker layers from the epigenome to the microbiome, but also aims to investigate more sophisticated tools, such as single cell analysis.” The new epigenetic markers could be more significant than inflammation markers in the blood which have been used so far. As these ‘traditional’ markers also increase in patients with a common cold or elevated temperature, they cannot always be allocated clearly. SYSCID will use dense clinical sampling and molecular phenotyping to analyse longitudinal patient cohorts and obtain a deeper understanding of the immunological network changes associated with response and non-response to current treatment regimes. Unlike current therapeutic interventions which mainly alleviate the symptoms, SYSCID aims to develop a therapeutic strategy that will eventually offer a first causal therapy. The consortium targets new therapy approaches by ‘reprogramming’ disease through epigenome editing. “Assuming that the development and course of a disease are related to long-term epigenetic alterations, it makes sense to target the very root of the disease,” Rosenstiel said. SYSCID will build on previous and ongoing research activities by partners and international initiatives such as the International Human Epigenome Consortium (IHEC) with the aim of exploiting already collected and established patient data and enabling their utilisation for the development of new clinical applications. Moreover, the project will create training opportunities and career perspectives for young European scientists with its findings serving as a blueprint for future development of precision medicine in other fields. Project acronym: SYSCID Start date: 01 January 2017 Duration: 63 months Budget: € 14.4 Mio Coordination: Kiel University, Germany   SYSCID Partners at a glance: Belgium Université de Liège VIB Croatia Genos Denmark University of Southern Denmark Germany Kiel University Comma Soft AG European Research and Project Office GmbH Saarland University University of Bonn Greece Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens Italy Humanitas University Luxemburg University of Luxemburg Switzerland University of Geneva UK King´s College London University of Cambridge Contact: Project Coordinator: Kiel University, Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology Prof. Dr Philip Rosenstiel Tel.: +49(0)431/500 15111 Project Management: European Research and Project Office GmbH (Eurice) Dr Vera Schneider Phone: +49 (0)681/959 23385