New York, NY, February 1, 2005 - Committed to its core belief that original thinking—idea-driven science—is the overarching need in lupus research, the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) is raising its individual novel research grant awards to $300,000.
"Despite such encouraging progress as biomarker initiatives and hopeful stirrings of clinical trials, the core fact remains that, as yet, no one fully understands lupus," says Margaret G. Dowd, LRI President.
Lupus is a chronic, systemic autoimmune disease that can attack virtually any organ or bodily system at any time. Lupus affects an estimated 1-1.5 million Americans and is a leading cause of kidney disease, stroke and cardiovascular disease in young women.
"Increased support for new science and imaginative investigators—work that is essential for progress in lupus — is unlikely to make it through National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding mechanisms in the very tough fiscal climate that lies ahead," she said. "That's where the private sector most needs to kick in."
"Predictions of minimal growth in Fiscal 2006 NIH research budgets are a wake-up call—and at the LRI we hear it loud and clear," Dowd added.
The LRI was founded five years ago to support highly promising novel approaches in lupus research. "Because the cause of lupus remains enigmatic and curative treatments continue to elude us, the LRI has chosen to support investigators who bring innovative and creative ideas to the table," said LRI Novel Research Taskforce Co-Chairman Nicholas Chiorazzi, MD, Director of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Research Institute. "This affords the best opportunity to reinforce and invigorate the research aimed at finding the cause and cure for lupus."
The LRI's 2005 novel grant program seeks projects that deal with less investigated aspects of the disease as well as applications from investigators who may not have previously worked in lupus.
The heterogeneity of systemic lupus — affecting the kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, blood and skin — spurs the LRI to reach out to such specialties as cardiology, nephrology, neurology and dermatology and to urge investigators in these areas to bring their best thinking to lupus. This scientific strategy, endorsed by leading immunologists and rheumatologists who comprise the LRI's scientific advisory board, also carries through to the organization's advocacy agenda. As a result of the LRI's 2004 national advocacy on Capitol Hill, the Fiscal Year 2005 U.S. House Labor, Health & Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee Report, calls for research collaboration across multiple NIH institutes to tackle this core problem of heterogeneity in lupus.
"With the LRI's increased funding level, we expect the program to attract an even larger number of promising applications," said Novel Research Taskforce Co-Chairman Mark Shlomchik, MD, PhD, professor of laboratory medicine and immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine. "By appealing to researchers in other specialties, the LRI will spur novel approaches and collaborations not previously applied to the lupus field."
The 2005 grant application deadline is June 30, 2005 with financial support slated to start in October. For information on the LRI's 2005 grant program, visit www.lupusresearchinstitute.org or call Laura Hack, Grants Administrator at 212-685-4118.
About the Lupus Research Institute
Pioneering Discovery to prevent, treat and cure lupus. The Lupus Research Institute (LRI), the country’s only nonprofit organization singularly devoted to novel research in lupus, champions innovation, encourages scientific creativity and risks exploring uncharted territory to bring new scientific solutions to the complex and dangerous autoimmune disease of lupus. Founded by families and shaped by scientists, the Institute mandates sound science and rigorous peer review to uncover and support only the highest ranked novel research. Its bold and proven research strategy places the LRI at the forefront of lupus science as the Institute consistently achieves the breakthrough discoveries, novel insights and solid results that are changing the course of lupus research and bringing new hope to people with lupus nationwide.
To learn more about lupus and the Lupus Research Institute, visit www.lupusresearchinstitute.org.