Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMID) are important health challenges in Europe and beyond, afflicting an estimated 5-8% of the total population. IMID with an onset during childhood such as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) cause particular concern as pediatric patients form an especially vulnerable group. Currently there is no safe and cost-effective cure for JIA and related juvenile IMID. Thus, these children face lifelong treatment with serious consequences both for the patient (high risks of long-term side effects) and for society as a whole (high costs). Translating the progress in molecular medicine into new therapies for JIA has also met with limited success. The route from idea to drug has many hurdles and is a very fragmented process. Translational medicine encompasses the continuum of activities that extend from the conception of an idea to advanced clinical testing and, ultimately, to the development of a new medical technology or drug. This itinerary includes many components that require very different skills such as biomedical research skills, design of pre-clinical and clinical trials, regulatory issues, legal issues, intellectual property rights, communicational skills and more. Such skills are often compartmentalized within three separate domains—academia, government and industry. Each of these domains has its own set of challenges. If we are to really change the way in which we are thinking and working in the drug development process it will be essential that we start with changing the education process of our students. EUTRAIN brings together leading scientists and institutes in the field of IMID. Its goal is to provide the next generation of researchers with insights, tools and knowledge necessary to bridge the gap between bench and bedside in IMID. In doing this EUTRAIN addresses two specific needs: the need for novel therapeutic approaches for IMID and the need for novel approaches in translational medicine.
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