Understanding complexity

We now know that recovery from injury or disease involving inflammation, is complex. While inflamed tissues have many causal factors and complex biological interactions, the result is that the balance has been shifted from health to dysfunction. This calls for a novel approach to therapeutics – a ‘paradigm shift’.

Understanding the disease process is crucial in drug development. With a focus on particular inflammatory conditions, we have prioritised understanding the nature of these diseases, in all their complexity. With genomic and proteomic studies of particular conditions, there is now considerable information about the pathways involved with inflammatory diseases.

In daily life, the body encounters multiple ‘insults’. These can be wide ranging, from ‘true insults’ like traumatic injury or bacterial infection, to ‘perceived insults’, such as in allergy in patients sensitive to particular allergens. In defence, the body mounts complex immune responses designed to combat these insults and restore health.

In some instances, the body ‘wins’ and health is restored. In other cases, the immune response continues, propagating further inflammation via a complex network of interactions between cells and signalling molecules. Left unchecked, our own responses can propagate the disease/inflammation process – leading to long-term negative health consequences.

In finding solutions for patients, the challenge lies in developing therapeutics which are able to modulate the unchecked propagation of inflammation in multiple pathways, without damaging healthy responses and causing undesirable side effects. Paradigm is rising to this challenge.