Head: Dr. med. Andreas Ramming
Physiologically the initiation and termination of inflammation is tightly controlled. Failure to appropriately stop inflammation, however, leads to chronic inflammation and pathologic tissue repair. So far, cure of chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has not been achieved, as current anti-inflammatory therapies act by antagonizing the pro-inflammatory activating process only, and therefore have to be taken life-long. Therapies that control perpetuating tissue repair mechanisms that lead to fibrotic diseases such as systemic sclerosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), liver cirrhosis and chronic graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) are not yet available for clinical use. The socioeconomic burden of chronic inflammatory and fibrotic diseases is high, since they affect women and men early in life, entailing substantial indirect health care costs due to sick leave, permanent work disability and early retirement. Chronic inflammatory and fibrotic diseases account for at least one third of deaths worldwide and can affect virtually every organ system. The incidence of these diseases is continuously increasing over the last decades. Therefore, the development of new treatment strategies will become even more important in the future.