Scientists Identify Strategies To Conquer Lifestyle And Genetic Factors Related To Chronic DiseasesMain Category: Genetics
Also Included In: Allergy; Immune System / Vaccines
Article Date: 08 Dec 2011 - 2:00 PST
A dramatic increase in the incidence of chronic inflammatory diseases such as asthma, allergy, and irritable bowel syndrome, has led to concern about how modern lifestyles may trigger physiological defense mechanisms. Now, in the context of a foresight study under the auspices of the European Science Foundation (ESF), a group of scientists has examined the challenges associated with chronic inflammatory diseases, and described 10 key areas with the highest priority for research. Their recommendations are published in a supplement to The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI), the official journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
"Many transmissible diseases have been effectively eradicated over the last half century, yet there has been a marked increase in the incidence of chronic inflammatory diseases," says committee chair Harald Renz, MD, of the Institute of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiochemistry, Molecular Diagnostics, Phillips University, Marburg, Germany. Strategies are urgently needed to determine the causes of these chronic diseases and identify targets for therapy and prevention."
Factors responsible for the development of chronic inflammatory diseases are not easily determined. While epidemiological evidence clearly points to an environmental influence, not all individuals in these environments develop disease. Susceptibility to chronic inflammatory disease has a clear genetic component, but genetics may not be the only determining factor. Prenatal exposures can influence later susceptibility to disease. After birth, factors such as breastfeeding and exposure to microorganisms appear to further influence the likelihood of developing diseases such as asthma and allergy.
Dr. Renz and his colleagues on the Scientific Committee of the ESF Forward Look on Gene-Environment Interaction in Chronic Disease (GENESIS) identified the following 10 key recommendations as having the highest priority for research into chronic inflammatory diseases:
1. Research should distinguish between therapy and prevention.
2. Large prospective cohort studies including deep phenotyping should be made a priority.
3. Research should focus on the question of tolerance.
4. A global (international) approach should be taken to understanding chronic inflammatory disease.
5. Effective interdisciplinary research strategies must be established.
6. New tools and experimental models must be developed.
7. Protocols for data collection, handling, and storage need to be harmonized.
8. Substantial investment must be made in infrastructure, personnel, and development of research tools.
9. Dedicated funding must be provided for interdisciplinary research.
10. Effective public-private partnerships must be developed to ensure free exchange of information.
Scientists Identify Strategies To Conquer Lifestyle And Genetic Factors Related To Chronic Diseases