Chronic autoimmune diseases represent a clinically heterogeneous group of disorders that are characterized by the presence of a chronic inflammatory process localized in various organs and tissues. Though distinct types of autoimmune diseases are rare, they collectively affect millions of individuals worldwide (roughly 3% of the global population); as they often strike younger subjects, they are frequently responsible for permanent organ damage, thus constituting one of the leading causes of chronic disability, thus entailing a significant socioeconomic burden. The specific modulation of the triggering phase of the immune response represents the avenue of future treatment approaches for autoimmune diseases. Translational Research in Autoimmunity seeks to create a direct pipeline between cutting edge basic research and clinical applications, in order to streamline as much as possible the delivery of a product (or products) from the conception stage to the design of clinical trials. The meeting will represent the occasion to identify and benchmark, on the basis of our current knowledge, the most promising, multidisciplinary platforms to deliver laboratory breakthroughs to clinical settings for the effective immunoregulatory treatment of autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, as a consensus-building initative, it will contribute to the set up of a group of researchers willing to cooperate in the long term on projects which have the final aim of discovering new immunoregulatory treatments for chronic inflammatory (autoimmune) diseases.
Practical outcomes of this meeting will include: 1) creation of a top level group of scientists willing to cooperate on several feasible projects; 2) generation of a patrimony of treatment-oriented ideas to be developed; 3) the possibility of launching initiatives (e.g., postgraduate training schemes) aimed at preparing scientists with expertise in translational research.