DHIIG and the REACH project
Inflammation is a natural process which allows the body to recover from injury and infection. Following from an initial active phase, inflammation typically subsides and resolves. For reasons not fully understood, the resolution phase of inflammation can sometimes become maladaptive leading to chronic, intractable disease. A number of `drivers` of the inflammatory process, such as tumour necrosis factor (TNF), have been successfully targeted to treat chronic inflammation. However, these approaches require expensive ongoing therapy with associated side effects.
An alternative approach is to induce a state of restitution by promoting the resolution of inflammation, expediting appropriate tissue remodelling and avoiding long-term inflammatory disease activity. In some disease situations, resolution of acute inflammation occurs either spontaneously or following treatment in some subjects, while in others, chronic inflammation and tissue damage ensues.
These clinical situations provide an opportunity to elucidate the mechanisms of resolution and restitution in human inflammatory disease. The REACH program focuses on two distinct clinical problems with these characteristics, post-myocardial infarction remodelling associated inflammation of the heart (post–MI damage) and early rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
The members of the Dalhousie Human Immunology and Inflammation Group (DHIIG) are working together to address key questions related to the regulation and resolution of inflammation, which aim to solve the clinical challenges of inflammatory disease and enhance our ability to regulate human immune function. Such studies may impact more than one disease process and so complementary studies focused on different inflammatory settings are an asset.