Research focus

Master switch

The CMSB focus lies on common diseases: Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, depression, diabetes, migraine, immune disorders and cancer. Typically these diseases are chronic, variable in severity and caused by a combination of multiple genes in combination with lifestyle and environmental factors. Often, notably in older people, these diseases are connected. At first glance, there seems to be no relationship between, for example, depression and migraine, diabetes and cancer, or high cholesterol and Alzheimer. Yet, scientists increasingly find hidden connections. The primary cause, the onset and the ultimate clinical symptoms may be different, but along the way similar disruptions of the system occur. This suggests the existence of biological master switches in the human body. Then, our individual variation in the settings of these switches is likely to determine different clinical outcomes. Revealing these master switches will thus yield multiple opportunities for therapy and prevention.

Improving care

The Centre’s mission is to help improve the care for patients suffering from common diseases. Therefore, we aim to elucidate the connectivity between common diseases by identifying genes and biological pathways involved in onset and severity of disease, detecting common and specific determinants in these pathways, and developing new and improving existing methods for diagnosis and prognosis as a basis for new treatments and better prevention. Since rare diseases often present unique model systems for well-defined elements of common disease, the scope of CMSB also includes the study of rare disease to optimise the chance of developing specific, targeted therapies.