October, 2012

Lupus Research Institute Unveils First $1 Million Research Grants to
Uncover the Root Causes of Lupus That Can Drive to a Cure

Studies Address Fundamental Questions in Immunology, with Broad Application Across Autoimmune Diseases

The first recipients of the new Distinguished Innovator Awards will present their winning studies at the upcoming 12th annual Lupus Research Institute Scientific Conference, “Forum for Discovery” October 22-23 in NYC. The first $1 million privately funded international awards were created to find the most novel and innovative research to discover the basic underlying causes of lupus that can drive to prevention and a cure.  Addressing fundamental questions in immunology, both studies hold broad implications for a host of other autoimmune diseases affecting millions.

Drs. Ann Marshak-Rothstein at University of Massachusetts Medical School and Greg Barton at University of California, Berkeley each zeroed in on the same family of proteins called Toll-like receptors (TLRs) as key in triggering the immune system to attack itself.

Which Toll-like Receptor is Responsible?
Dr. Marshak-Rothstein’s research group was the first to propose that TLRs play a primary role lupus by switching on the immune system to attack the body. With her Distinguished Innovator award, she will develop a highly innovative experimental approach to identify which of the TLRs is mainly to blame for causing lupus in humans - work that promises to reveal new targets for therapies to prevent or arrest the disease.



Why Don’t TLR’s Harm Healthy People?
Also considering TLRs as prime suspects, Dr. Barton is investigating why TLRs cause a problem in people with lupus but not in healthy people. His focus is on determining if the reason the immune system attacks its own DNA might be proteins inside immune cells whose job is to control TLRs. Dr. Barton’s study seeks to pinpoint the earliest errors made by the lupus immune system and suggest new treatments to correct them. His investigations also have broad implications for autoimmune disease, infectious disease and beyond.

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Forum for Discovery – Premier U.S. Scientific Conference in Lupus
The Forum for Discovery will gather more than 60 top lupus experts to share new insights and findings across a broad range of topics including genetic factors predisposing certain people to lupus, how the lupus immune system turns against the body, and novel treatment approaches.  A panel from academia, government, and industry will tackle obstacles that can impede drug development in lupus.

Check for LRI’s next e-newsletter and website news for a detailed summary of the Forum for Discovery presentations and discussion.

The LRI: Closing in on the Cause, Going for the Cure

About the LRI
The world’s leading private supporter of innovative research in lupus, the LRI champions scientific risk-taking in the hunt for solutions to this complex and dangerous autoimmune disease.
To make a contribution, visit our website: www.lupusresearchinstitute.org.

Lupus Research Institute
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