What is RELENT?
RELENT is a research project funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. RELENT stands for RELapses prevENTion in chronic autoimmune disease: common mechanisms and co-morbidities.
The RELENT Consortium is a multidisciplinary group of scientists and clinical investigators whose goal it is to develop individualized treatments for chronic autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and vasculitis.
Note from Prof. Renate Kain, M.D., Ph.D., Project Coordinator
Severe autoimmune and inflammatory diseases currently need to be treated with long-term immunosuppressive drugs that have significant side effects. Despite this, the outcome for individual patients varies considerably. We currently have no means of distinguishing from the outset which patients will suffer from frequent relapses of their disease – and therefore need intensive early treatment – from those who will not. The RELENT project will apply an entirely novel approach to systematically define common disease mechanisms in autoimmunity, involving a fast and high throughput discovery and validation process. By combining clinical and serological data with genetic and transcriptomic signatures to unravel the molecular mechanisms that determine disease outcome, we will be able to develop customised health care for people suffering from autoimmune disorders.
RELENT aims to shed light on the course and mechanisms of diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and vasculitis, and to develop improved diagnostics and intervention strategies with the expected impact of delaying the onset of chronic autoimmune diseases.
The work in the project is divided into six areas:
- Identification of common pathways that influence disease outcome and response to treatment and infection (work package 1)
- Identification of protein signatures that predict disease outcome and anticipate infective complications (work package 2)
- The ageing immune system and its relation to the development of autoimmunity and co-morbidities (work package 3)
- Pathogenic role of T cells and their interactions with myeloid cells (work package 4)
- Dissemination, exploitation and communication (work package 5)
- Project Management (work package 6)
The project started on November 1, 2015 with a project duration of 54 months.
Main project objectives of RELENT
RELENT´s overall mission is to
- understand common mechanisms of diseases and their relevance in co-morbidities thereby transforming the clinical outcome for patients with severe autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, and to
- provide the scientific underpinning by closing the knowledge gap in common mechanisms of disease. This should result in a more individualized and thus safer and more effective management for severe autoimmune and inflammatory disease in both females and males affected by them.
The RELENT project will analyse data from a variety of measurements (clinical, serological, genetic, transcriptomic) and thus develop new biomarkers for these diseases. These should allow the tailoring of the most efficacious treatment to each patient with a chronic autoimmune disease.
Medical University of Vienna – MUW, Vienna, Austria – coordinating institution
Coordinator: Prof. Renate Kain, MD PhD
The MUW is the coordinating institution of RELENT. Apart from the overall coordination of the project (lead of work package 6 – Project Management), they also lead work package 1 – Identification of common pathways that influence disease outcome and response to treatment and infection. In this work package, the partners will analyse the pathways and their genomic background that influences the intensity and persistence of severe autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
The group of Prof. Renate Kain at the Clinical Institute of Pathology at MUW also participates in work packages 2, 3 and 5.
University of Cambridge – UCAM, Cambridge, UK
Team leader: Dr. Paul Lyons
UCAM leads work package 2 - Identification of protein signatures that predict disease outcome and anticipate infective complications. The group of Dr. Paul Lyons further also participates in work packages 1 and 5.
Academisch Ziekenhuis Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen – UMCG, Groningen, The Netherlands
Team leader: Elisabeth Brouwer, MD, PhD
Partner UMCG leads work package 3 - The ageing immune system and its relation to the development of autoimmunity and co-morbidities - and participates in work packages 1, 2 and 5.
HelmholtzZentrum München – HMGU, München, Germany
Team leader: PD Dr. Dieter Jenne
The group of Dieter Jenne at the Comprehensive Pneumology Center of HMGU leads work package 4 - Pathogenic role of T-cells and their interactions with myeloid cells, and participates in work package 5.
Universitätsklinikum Bonn – UKB, Bonn, Germany
Team leader: Prof. Dr. Christian Kurts
Christian Kurts is the co-lead of work package 4 - Pathogenic role of T-cells and their interactions with myeloid cells. His group at the Institute of Experimental Immunology also contributes to work package 5.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München – LMU, München, Germany
Team leader: Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Anders
In RELENT, the group of Hans-Joachim Anders contributes to work package 4 - analyzing Cathepsin S as a mediator to chronic inflammatory injury and its complications – and work package 5.
Royal Institute of Technology – KTH, Stockholm, Sweden
Team leader: Prof. Peter Nilsson
The group of Peter Nilsson is participating in work package 2, working on the identification of autoantibody profiles associated with disease activity and susceptibility to infection. In addition, they are also performing proteomic analyses of autoantibody response in immune-mediated disease.
In work package 4, partner KTH is analyzing autoantibody subtypes and their binding to cellular targets in autoimmune injury. Additionally, KTH is also participating in work package 5.
Monash University – MONASH, Clayton, Australia
Team leader: Prof. Dr. A. Richard Kitching
MONASH is contributing to work package 3, by investigating the role of ageing of the immune system on the nature and severity of anti-MPO autoimmunity in mice, and to work package 4, in which they analyse memory CD8+ cells and their potential contributions to autoimmunity.
EMC microcollections GmbH – EMC, Tübingen, Germany
Team leader: Dr. Renate Spohn
With its strong background in peptide and peptide-mimetic synthesis and synthetic ligand optimisation EMC will contribute to the project in preparing chemical tools for immunochemistry and functional peptides as well as screening peptides and peptide libraries. EMC is participating in work packages 1, 4 and 5 in RELENT.
Hycult Biotech – Hycult, Uden, The Netherlands
Team leader: Dr. Erik Toonen
The main task of Hycult Biotech within the RELENT consortium is to facilitate translation of project findings into marketable diagnostic immunoassays for personalised medicine (work package 2). Furthermore, Hycult Biotech is actively involved in dissemination, exploitation and communication activities of project findings, both as work package 5 lead and Dr. Erik Toonen as a member of the Innovation and Exploitation Advisory Panel (IEAP).
Phenocell SAS – Phenocell, Evry Cedex, France
Team leader: Dr. Brigitte Onteniente
Phenocell brings into RELENT its expertise in the derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by creating iPSC lines to study the role of autophagy in immune disorders. The group of Brigitte Ontentiente is contributing to work packages 1, 3 and 5 in RELENT.
ARTTIC SAS – ART, Paris, France
Team leader: Dr. Martin Dietz
ARTTIC as a project management company and consultancy service ensures the overall management of the project by supporting the Coordinator. It assists the RELENT consortium in carrying out its contractual duties, in addition to advising and guiding the participants to comply with the EU regulations and with their contractual requirements.
ARTTIC also supports the dissemination, communication and exploitation activities of the project.
Universiteit Utrecht - UU, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Team leader: Prof. Dr. Albert J.R. Heck
The group of Albert Heck is bringing into the project their vast experience on proteomic analyses and will employ this to analyse antibody response in immune-mediated disease and the identification of serum proteome markers of disease activity or clinical outcome in patients with immune-mediated disease (part of work package 2). In addition, they will also contribute to work package 5.
Project meetings and events
The 1st RELENT General Assembly Meeting – also called Kick-Off meeting - took place in Vienna on 19th and 20th of January 2016. The meeting started with a successful Scientific Symposium open to the general public with the title “Personalized Medicine for Autoimmune Diseases – H2020 project RELENT – Understanding common mechanisms of diseases and their relevance in co-morbidities”. All academic partners of the RELENT consortium presented their research leading to RELENT to about 70 participants at the Van Swieten Saal of Medical University Vienna. Further information about the event can be found here.
After this the Group convened again in a closed session at the MUW Rektoratssaal to discuss project specific questions and next steps.
2nd General Assembly Meeting
The 2nd RELENT General Assembly Meeting and 3rd Steering Committee Meeting was held in Munich at Hotel Excelsior from 10th to 12th of January 2017. The group had lots of lively discussions about the general topic “RELapses prevENTion in chronic autoimmune disease” in addition to discussing the work in the work packages.
The partners discussed the progress so far and made new plans for the coming year.
Changes to the project consortium
Due to external circumstances, both our US partner Mayo Clinic and the former project management company GABO:mi had to be terminated as partners of RELENT during our first year. Therefore, we are very happy to welcome our new partners Universiteit Utrecht and ARTTIC SAS to the consortium, who are taking over the tasks in RELENT. With their help, we could ensure the seamless continuation of the proposed work.
The RELENT website went online on 29th of June 2016 and there you can find further information about the project, chronic autoimmune diseases, the partners and regular news about RELENT. Please pay us a visit and feel free to link your website to www.relent.eu!
The RELENT project is on Twitter, LinkedIn and ResearchGate. RELENT news will be posted regularly.
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