• Key Aspects of Project Groups

Key Aspects of Project Groups

Groups are involved in different aspects of arthritis research including the discovery of key mediators of inflammation, pathogenic antibodies, and mechanisms controlling the expression of genes with potential for the development of diagnostic and therapeutic procedure.

University of Geneva

Prof. Dr. Cem Gabay
University of Geneva
Head, Division of Department
President of Swiss
Society of Rheumatology



Cytokines are small peptides that play a critical role in regulating inflammatory and immune responses.


Studies on the regulation and function of cytokines has led to a better understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms involved in several rheumatic diseases and has allowed the emergence of therapies targeting cytokines. Today, some of these therapies have improved the management of several rheumatic diseases.


The center in Geneva is one of the leading groups in cytokine research applying the findings of the laboratory to clinical studies in patients.






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University of Lausanne

Prof. Dr. Nicolas Fasel
University of Lausanne
Director Department
Faculty of Biology and




Chronic inflammation is a key aggravating parameter in rheumatoid arthritis. Studying the innate immune system and its cellular machinery is essential to understand basic principles and pathways leading to chronic inflammatory diseases.


Several major contributions by the Department of Biochemistry have been made on the dissection of such pathways using molecular and cellular tools, leading in the reappraisal of therapies of inflammatory disease such as gout.


New avenues to control inflammation will be investigated in the next years using a large collection of mouse models and innovative tools.





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University of Zurich

Prof. Dr. Steffen Gay
University Hospital Zurich
Head of Center of Experimental






Epigenetic imprinting by environmental factors has emerged into the center of experimental molecular research and recently also of public interest. Epigenetics is the study of all heritable and potentially reversible changes in genome function that do not alter the nucleotide sequence within the DNA, in more simpler terms, epigenetics regulates gene expression.


Biochemical processes such as acetylation, methylation, phosphorylation, sumoylation and microRNAs are acting in a fine tuned concert of regulating gene expression in health and disease. Also in rheumatic diseases epigenetic research has resulted in a quickly accelerating number of publications at the center in Zurich and novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies are on the horizon which need to be implemented in future research.


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Biomedicine Bellinzona

Prof. Dr. Antonio Lanzavecchia
Institute for Research in
Biomedicine Bellinzona
Managing Director
ETH Zurich Professor for
Human Immunology



The crosstalk between immune cells and the bone is at the center of the emerging interdisciplinary field of Osteoimmunology. Researchers at the IRB, a recognized center of excellence for human immunelogy, aims at obtaining insights in the molecular, cellular and systemic interactions between cells and molecules of the adaptive immune system (T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, antibodies) and the skeletal system.


Using new high throughput cellular screening platforms they will explore the immune response in rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosis spondylitis, and how the response changes following therapy with biological
agents (anti-CD20, anti-TNF, anti-IL-1, anti-IL-6, anti-integrins).




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