Background: Immunological life history

Chronic inflammatory diseases (CID) comprise a group of disorders of the immune system with a lifetime prevalence of over 10% in the EU and a continuously rising incidence in Western countries. Despite different clinical manifestations, CID show a vast overlap of genetic risk maps and environmental risk factors.

SYSCID will focus on three major CID (inflammatory bowel disease, systemic lupus erythematodes and rheumatoid arthritis) to identify a common set of unifying mechanisms that contribute to their pathogenesis.


The three fundamental aims of SYSCID

(1) Diagnosis

State of the art
  • Medicine has made little progress over the past 50 years
  • Diagnosis takes too long (12 – 24 months)
  • Diagnosis is expensive
  • Diagnosis is unspecific
  • Diagnosis still based on morphological appearance (inspection/endoscopy)
  • No definite molecular diagnostic marker of any single CID entity is existing
  • "Going from doctor to doctor"
What SYSCID will do
  • Predict early disease manifestation
  • Precise diagnosis
  • Establish molecular marker signatures
  • Diagnostics toolkit
  • Treat CIDs as a disease group
  • Identify shared and unique disease mechanisms

(2) Prevention

State of the art
  • Therapy of CID aims to dampen systemic immune responses to obtain disease control
  • Therapy "trial and error" (expensive and tedious)
  • Course of disease non-predictable
  • Long-term disease progression and occurrence of co-morbidities are not yet predictable
  • Effective therapies only for particular groups of patients
What SYSCID will do
  • Predict disease outcome
  • Predict therapy effectiveness
  • Personalized treatment decisions

(3) Cure

State of the art
  • Current therapeutic interventions cannot cure any CIDs
  • Conventional drugs are ineffecitve
  • Only symptomatic disease control
What SYSCID will do
  • Development of new causative therapies (by editing the epigenome)
  • Causal disease control