IMIDs such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) are chronic disorders that present in childhood, causing significant morbidity and long-term disability. Currently, there is no safe and cost-effective cure for JIA and other juvenile IMIDs, and none of the approved therapies are suitable for use in children. Children with these diseases face lifelong treatment with significant side-effects. Furthermore, improvements in diagnostic technologies, development of predictive tools for treatment response and innovative and specific therapeutic interventions are urgently required. To achieve this, the EU-funded EUTRAIN initiative brought together leading experts in the field of JIA research. Project activities focused on JIA as it consists of various well-defined subgroups with different immune pathogenesis and the results can directly benefit other IMIDs. The project also included training of the future generation of scientists that will continue IMID research and contribute towards the development of ground-breaking approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of IMID. The educational programme was coordinated by the Eureka institute for Translational Medicine. It focused on training the recruited researchers on translational medicine, career mentoring and the acquisition of complementary skills such as network communication, critical thinking and problem solving. In addition, training courses were offered by EUTRAIN partners including a workshop on mouse imaging and an online e-learning medical course, which provided an introduction to translational medicine. From a scientific perspective, the project achieved important breakthroughs in the identification of new methods to induce immune tolerance. The methodology involved mainly cellular and molecular manipulation of regulatory T cells. EUTRAIN researchers also combined immunological knowledge with the newest imaging techniques while the clinical cohort studies provided the basis for the identification of IMID biomarkers. Furthermore, EUTRAIN successfully built on a computational algorithm for using novel imaging tools. Overall, the EUTRAIN initiative successfully offered a concise scientific and training programme in translational medicine in IMID with important scientific achievements. Importantly, the established educational programme will facilitate continuous research in IMID by well-trained researchers and impact the field with innovative new diagnostic and treatment approaches.
Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, EUTRAIN, tolerance, regulatory T cells