TIMID consortium: new taxonomy and treatment strategies for T cell driven Immune Mediated Inflammatory Diseases

Immune mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) amongst which diabetes type I, spondyloarthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, graft versus host disease and colon cancer are diseases in which our immune system is defective and causes chronic tissue damage. The current treatment regimens for these diseases are associated with therapy failure, side effects and comorbidities. To improve management there is an urgent need for precision medicine targeting the underlying pathogenic immune response that is driving disease.

We hypothesize that a faulty immune response to intestinal bacteria is an important driver of disease in these patients. In our partnership of 6 academic institutions and 5 companies, we will unravel the common cellular basis for seven IMIDs. We will analyze the deregulated anti-microbial immune response and classify these IMIDs on the basis of this immune response. These results will empower more precise treatments using existing drugs and identify new targets for future drug development.

Our approach

By combining cutting edge technology with unique in depth characterization of immune cells from pediatric and adult patients and sharing knowledge and clinical expertise, this consortium will uncover fundamental processes in the pathogenesis of IMIDs. Through in silico modelling of the emerging large datasets the consortium aims at generating a classification on the basis of defective immune response that predicts disease severity and therapy responsiveness. As such, the consortium aims to improve treatment of IMID in the near future by realizing precision medicine geared at treating the patients’ individual disease as effectively as possible with as few side effects as possible.


An estimated 2 million individuals within the Netherlands suffer from an IMID. Many of these patients receive medication that suppresses inflammatory immune responses. This medication often has side effects and may not effectively suppress inflammation causing the disease to flare-up. For example, in inflammatory bowel disease 30-40% of the patients experiences disease flares. Subsequent changes in therapy are sometimes effective to re-establish disease remission. However, if therapy fails patients risk an operation to remove inflamed parts of the intestine.