Fighting the roots of disease instead of alleviating symptoms
Chronic inflammatory diseases affect a considerable number of individuals worldwide. In general, life-long treatments are prescribed to alleviate symptoms of the disease, yet these do not tackle the cause of the disease. Moreover, the lack of specific drugs severely limits the beneficial effects of such therapies. 

The aim of this project is to deliver fully characterized and validated drugable targets for new therapies for chronic inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). So far it has become apparent that the products that are released due to disease related tissue breakdown play a major part in the continuation of the disease. At the moment, several approaches to reduce the effect of these breakdown products are under investigation. The chosen approach will also open up new avenues for the treatment of other autoimmune diseases such as arthritis. 

Fast facts
Full project title: CXC chemokine receptors: potential targets for chronic inflammatory diseases
Start date: August 2006
End date: August 2011
Goal: Find the cause of chronic inflammatory diseases and discover targets and methods for new therapies
Principal investigator: Aletta Kraneveld
Project size: 6,1 FTE's
Partners: Danone Research, MSD, Utrecht University, VU University Amsterdam 


An inflammation reaction is an attempt of the body to remove harmful stimuli such as damaged cells, irritants, viruses, bacteria or infectious agents. It should not be confused with infection, because an infection is caused by an external infectious agent whereas inflammation is the reaction against such agents. The symptoms of inflammation include redness, swelling, pain, fever, chills and fatigue. During an inflammation reaction, white blood cells are sent to the irritated areas in order to cleanse. Chemicals from the white blood cells are released to increase the blood flow, and thus these white blood cells, to the area. This blood flow results in the redness and warmth of the affected area. The inflammation can affect tissue, joints, but also organs. 

Diseases associated with inflammation are for example rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, but also auto immune diseases. In this latter disease the body is triggered to use inflammation to attack foreign ‘intruders’ while in fact there are none. An overactive immune system thus causes the body to attack its own cells. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of inflammatory disease, with 150.00 patients in the Netherlands in 2003 and inflammatory bowel disease makes a good second with approximately 35.000 patients.

PhD theses from this project

Saskia Braber (project T1-103)
The pathogenesis of lung emphysema

Petra de Kruijf (project T1-103)
Exploring the Chemokine Receptor CXCR2

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