The project

Decision on optimal combinatorial Therapies in IMIDS using Systems Approaches

Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Diseases (IMIDs) are a group of diseases caused by the inadequate activation of the immune system to the cells and organs. They are frequent (up to 7% of general population), being the third most common type of disease in developed countries. Many IMIDs have a higher prevalence in women, affecting up to 10 times more than men.

In the DoCTIS project we focus in six of the most frequent IMIDs in our society: rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriasis (PS), psoriatic arthritis (PSA), Crohn’s disease (CD) ulcerative colitis (UC) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In all six of these diseases the chronic activation of the powerful immune system ends up affecting the functionality of many tissues and organs, like the joints in RA and PsA or the gut in CD and UC. This clearly reduces the quality of life of many patients, and it also increases the risk for additional diseases and shortens the life expectancy. 

In the last 20 years there has been a major advance in the development of therapies to treat IMIDs. These therapies have been an improvement over previous drugs, helping to reduce the impact in an important percentage of patients. However, many other patients do not respond adequately to these new therapies. Also, in many cases, these new therapies end up losing efficacy and must be stopped. These therapies are costly, so they have become an important burden to the European health systems. 

The DoCTIS project has been designed to tackle this important health problem in IMIDs. To do so, we will identify new combinations of existing drugs that potentiate the effect of each other. This combinatorial effect will have many beneficial aspects for IMID patients: it will lower the disease activity down to remission (i.e. free of symptoms), it will allow to reduce drug dosage (and, therefore, reduce the risk of toxicity) and, finally, it will reduce the probability of becoming resistant to the therapy.

For this ambitious medical research projects eight partners from five European countries and one partner from the USA will be collaborating for five years towards this objective. The DoCTIS project will integrate different experts from the clinical, biological, computational, and epidemiological areas. These experts will collaborate to generate and analyze high throughput data generated from IMID patients as well as animal models of the disease in order to identify new drug combinations that are highly efficacious.