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PRECISESADS, an European consortium engaged in research on auto-immune diseases

10/05/2016

PRECISESADS, an European consortium engaged in research on auto-immune diseases

Every year May 10 is World Lupus Day. The day was created to raise awareness of the disease, some forms of which can be very debilitating. World Lupus Day also helps draw attention to the progress of the search for new drugs and promote funding.

Lupus and autoimmune diseases

Lupus or SLE is a chronic systemic autoimmune disease that primarily affects women of childbearing age, between the ages of 15 and 40.   Autoimmune diseases result from a dysfunction of the immune system, normally responsible for defending the body against external aggressions. The immune system is a complex network of organs, tissues, cells and factors in the blood. Usually it protects the individual against disease. But in the case of a so-called autoimmune disease, the body’s immune system will not tolerate its own constituents, and attacks the body’s cells. This results in an inflammatory reaction and tissue or cell damage.   Multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis belong to the family of autoimmune diseases such as lupus.   A characteristic of lupus, common to autoimmune diseases is the presence of auto-antibodies (directed against components of the Self) in blood.

 

Schematic representation of the immune system. Source: Inserm

  Lupus is a systemic disease, meaning it can affect many parts of the body such as joints, skin, kidneys or heart. According to the clinical expression of the disease, we can describe several forms of lupus associated with varied symptoms: fevers, pain, joint swelling, blurred vision, etc. The disease’s symptoms and severity vary greatly from one person to another.

PRECISESADS, an IMI European consortium, is engaged in research on autoimmune diseases to find new targeted therapeutic approaches

Currently systemic autoimmune diseases (Systemic Autoimmune Diseases (SADS)) are a group of chronic inflammatory diseases which are difficult to diagnose and whose treatments are of varying efficiency. These autoimmune diseases affect less than 1% of the population. Treatments exist, but they do not cure these diseases, are often expensive and have significant side effects.   The PRECISESADS project ambitions to study 2500 people living with various autoimmune diseases. All clinical and laboratory data (blood, serum, urine, plasma) are collected to be analyzed paving the way for a new molecular classification – and not only clinical classification – of these diseases. It will be referred to as systemic taxonomy. New scientific data from this project could be used to offer patients personalized treatments taking into account the type of immune dysfunction of their disease.

The PRECISESADS project gathers a network of researchers and clinicians with the participation of the French Laboratory of immunotherapies and B lymphocyte Diseases, accompanied by five major pharmaceutical companies (EFPIA members) including Servier which manages the clinical database. PRECISESADS is a European project supported by the IMI, the European Commission and the EFPIA.   This project brings together the industrial and academic expertise of its members in the areas of technical “OMICS” (genomics, transcriptomics, Epigenomics, metabolomics, proteomics), and bioinformatics. By pooling the expertise of recognized specialists in these complex conditions and using advanced technology, this project brings hope for the discovery of effective treatments for these diseases.       The research leading to these results has received support from the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking under grant agreement n° [115565], resources of which are composed of financial contribution from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) and EFPIA companies’ in kind contribution.

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