Weighing in on autoimmune disease: Big data tip the scale

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Modern medicine keeps unraveling new ways to investigate autoimmunity, leading to the production of boundless amounts of genetic, cellular and imaging data. Although the precision with which this information can define the etiology and mechanisms of a particular autoimmune disease is encouraging, much work lies ahead until all the knowledge acquired can be translated into the clinic. In 'Bedside to Bench', Calliope A. Dendrou, John I. Bell and Lars Fugger discuss the promises and limitations of genome-wide and next-generation genetic studies to provide further understanding of mechanisms driving autoimmune disorders and the role of experimental medicine in the new era of integrative clinical practice and personalized medicine. In 'Bench to Bedside', Lawrence Steinman argues the concept of a 'hub and spoke' pattern of T cell activation and organ targeting in multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes. This paradigm suggests new ways to develop drugs to keep autoreactive T cells in the organ where activation occurs and preclude them from reaching the target organ and cause disease.

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Figure 1: Genetic risk factors and established points of drug intervention in the interleukin-23 (IL-23)–IL-17 axis in psoriasis.

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Correspondence to Lars Fugger.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Dendrou, C., Bell, J. & Fugger, L. Weighing in on autoimmune disease: Big data tip the scale. Nat Med 19, 138–139 (2013) doi:10.1038/nm.3087

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