National conference on chronic inflammation

Published 2013-10-11 00:00. Updated 2013-11-26 10:33

[PRESS INVITATION 11 October 2011] Karolinska Institutet is arranging a major two-day conference on chronic inflammation starting 14 October, marking the end of a five-year national research programme. A key feature of the programme has been the integration of scientists, careworkers, patients and industry  an approach that has proved highly successful.

All medical universities in Sweden have participated in the five-year research programme now to be presented. Professors from Karolinska Institutet have led the partnership, which has taken the form of two programmes: Combine, coordinated by Lars Klareskog and Cidat, coordinated by Jesper Z Haeggström. Central points of inquiry have included the improved diagnosis, prevention and treatment of inflammatory diseases of the airways, heart and blood vessels, which it is hoped will be of benefit to large groups of patients.

"Our results will be translatable in practice, of that I'm convinced," says Professor Jesper Z Haeggström at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics. "This is particularly true of the research into the blood-pressure-lowering and anti-inflammatory properties of vegetables, and the unexpected findings that indicate that common asthma drugs can be used in the treatment of patients with aortic aneurism."

Professor Haeggström goes on to say that the project has instigated an impressive amount of high-quality research, leading to several innovative breakthroughs of considerable commercial potential. Research in the Combine programme has also produced a series of results that are already being used to prevent rheumatic diseases and to provide better and earlier treatments.

"Results include new knowledge of how lifestyle influences the risk of rheumatic disease, and it is important for the effect of anti-rheumatic therapies," says Professor Lars Klareskog at Karolinska Institutets Department of Medicine. "We have also generated new knowledge concerning the pathophysiology of inflammatory diseases that can now be used in the development of new therapies. Our method of involving patients and using new industry partnership models in our research is important for taking this knowledge from the lab to clinical application."

Health economics, social gains and patient involvement are some of the issues on the agenda for the conference, at which national and international speakers and industry will be represented.

"We've had pleasing results across the board, but unfortunately there is no clear idea of how the projects will continue, which is a pity, and something we'll be raising during a closing panel debate: how can we carry on this kind of very productive partnership between researchers, patients and industry?" says conference organiser Susanne Karlfeldt, project manager for Combine.

The projects will continue in the form of collaboration networks in the fields of rheumatology and inflammation research in Sweden.

The programme was funded by Vinnova (The Swedish governmental agency for innovation systems), the Swedish Rheumatism Association, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, the Vardal Foundation and the Knowledge Foundation.

Reporters are welcome to attend the conference. Interviews with researchers can be arranged.

A summary session aimed at a wider audience (including reporters) will be held between 1.00 pm and 4.30 pm on Tuesday 15 October at the Nobel Forum on the KI Solna campus. Presentations of scientific results from the two programmes and lectures by invited researchers will be held in the Rolf Luft auditorium at Karolinska Hospital between 9.00 am and 5.15 pm on 14 October, and 8.30 am and 12.00 pm on 15 October. For more details, click on the programme link.

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