CD-2: Tryptophan Metabolism and Inflammation

Coordinators: M. Laudes (CAU), S. Krauss-Etschmann (RCB, CAU), S. Nikolaus (CAU)

In CD-2, clinical feasibility studies are prepared and carried out with the aim of establishing a treatment for chronic inflammatory and chronic metabolic diseases, using the intestinal microbiome as a therapeutic target. The tryptophan metabolism is addressed in particular, which plays an essential role both in microbes as well as in humans.

What does this research area’s work build on?

CD-2 builds on the knowledge of the last two cluster funding periods (Cluster of Excellence "Inflammation at Interfaces"). As such, the working group led by Philip Rosenstiel succeeded in verifying the importance of the tryptophan metabolism in chronic inflammation for the first time (1st funding period). Subsequently, the working group led by Matthias Laudes also verified the importance in humans in a translational study (2nd funding period). 


What are the main research objectives?

The most important goal is the development of a microbiome-based treatment for chronic inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's disease, as well as metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes. Here, every effort is being made to develop several intervention strategies in parallel, both on the basis of the Medicinal Products Act (AMG) as well as on the basis of German food law. The latter is intended for preventive measures, particularly with regard to the so-called "nutriceuticals", since usually no drug treatment can be carried out in healthy individuals with a disease risk but without disease manifestation.


What makes this research are special?

In CD-2, years of research on the animal model are brought into clinical development. In the future, this will also allow affected patients to directly benefit from the excellent research, and is a great example of translation and sustainability in the cluster.


What does the research area contribute to precision medicine in chronic inflammation?

In future, the microbiome-based treatment can be used especially for patients who exhibit an abnormality in their tryptophan metabolism. This means that it will be possible to use a metabolome analysis of the patient in advance to develop signatures that can predict a response to treatment (at least to a certain extent).


Cooperation with other research areas in the cluster

In particular for individualized treatment, collaboration with RTF V is essential because the predictive biomarkers can be developed there. In addition, intensive cooperation with CD-1 is planned, to use the depiction of disease progressions in individuals at the CCIM to gain new insights into changes in the tryptophan metabolism during treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases.