AUTOIMMUNITY research groups at the Universities of Bergen, Lund, Erlangen and Oxford will offer earlystage training in immunology, genetics and molecular medicine of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Sjogren'ssyndrome (SS) and multiple sclerosis (MS). This train ing is based on a broad integrated disciplinary approachwith the aim of initiating a better understanding of the common features of the immunopathogenesis andcommon genetic background of autoimmune diseases in general. The long-term objectives are to reach a morefundamental basis for better diagnosis and treatment in these chronic, disabling and enigmatic diseases affectinga large part (5-6 mill.) of the European population. The area of research training is autoimmune reactions,disease mechanisms and geneti cs with basis in both human and murine model systems. By using severalcomplementary strategies this European training intends to reveal a picture of molecular, genetic and clinicalmarkers for the diagnosis and progression of RA, SS and MS. It will do so by analysing the complexmechanisms by which organ-specific inflammation of RA, SS and MS develops and persists. The exploration ofgenetic markers of these autoimmune diseases is seen as a new and integral part of making progress inunderstanding; it will prov ide vital clues to focus immunological studies in the future leading to directintervention in RA, SS and MS and pointing the way forward for other similar diseases. The nature of thetraining activities in the form of prospective and genetic studies over ma ny years including also clinical studies isa guarantee for the long-term activity.
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