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Areas of research
Spondylarthritides, which are a main focus of our research, are characterized with similar clinical presentations and main features of inflammatory low back pain and/or asymmetric arthritis mainly involving low extremities, as well as with association with the genetic marker HLA-B27 and bacterial infections that often act the trigger of the disease. Interestingly, all these diseases might end as ankylosing spondylitis, especially when patients are HLA-B27 positive.
In our clinical studies, we mainly explore epidemiological features of the disease, establishing new diagnostic and classification criteria and improvement of early diagnosis of spondylarthritides. Together with that, we run a number of therapeutic studies, to explore the opportunity of improving the disease management.
In our basic science projects, we explore the pathogenesis of spondylarthritides. We focus on discovering the immunologic and osteologic interplay, i.e. we look for mechanisms triggering the inflammation process in joints and spine, and for factors, that drive the typical for ankylosing spondylitis process of new bone formation and developing of syndesmophytes. These projects are performed in close connection with DFG - German Research Foundation (SFB633, IMMUNOBONE) and with The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (ArthroMark, ANCYLOSS).