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Contribution of molecular epidemiology and host-pathogen genomics to understand Chlamydial trachomatis disease

Final Report Summary - EPIGENCHLAMYDIA (Contribution of molecular epidemiology and host-pathogen genomics to understand Chlamydial trachomatis disease)

The main theme in the EPIGENCHLAMYDIA project is Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) infection which is responsible for both the world leading cause of blindness (trachoma) and the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease which is strongly associated with pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and tubal infertility. Prevalences are increasing worldwide with almost 100 million new infections each year.

Twin study-based findings of members of this consortium estimate that there is a 40 % genetic predisposition to CT infections (Bailey et al., Drugs of Today, November 2009) forming the basis. The overall goal of the EPIGENCHLAMYDIA project is to accommodate the optimal environment to build and prepare a consortium to reliably determine the genetic predisposition to CT infection, to develop diagnostic tools that can determine individual's predisposition to infection and the risk to develop late complications, and to enhance knowledge of the CT-host interaction, in order to allow the development of novel tools for the detection and treatment of and vaccine development for CT infections.

The aims and work of the EPIGENCHLAMYDIA consortium highly contributes to public health. The results of the EPIGENCHLAMYDIA project has been chosen by the international network Genome-based Research and Population Health (GRaPHint) as a best practice example for the development of innovative tools for diagnosis and treatment of Host genetic determinants of infectious diseases (HGDoID) for the benefit of population health. In close collaboration with the Public Health Agency Canada (PHAC), the centres for disease control and prevention in the United States and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), a high-level meeting will be held in the end of 2010 in Maastricht, the Netherlands, to increase political awareness about the relevance of this topic for public health.

To timely translate the findings of the EPIGENCHLAMYDIA project into health policy and practice, the project consortium has been extended by involving the Public Health Genomics European Network (PHGEN). PHGEN is a cornerstone in the development of public health genomics in Europe. It is coordinated from the European Centre of Public Health Genomics (ECPHG) in Maastricht and funded by the General Directorate for Health and Consumer Protection (DG SANCO) under the Health Programme. Within three years, PHGEN will produce the first edition of 'European best practice guidelines for quality assurance, provision and use of genome-based information and technologies'. The guidelines assist Member States, applicant and EFTA-EEA countries with evidence-based guidance on timely and responsible integration of genome-based information and technologies into healthcare systems for the benefit of population health.

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