Lupus Research Institute Announces 2006 Funding Opportunities for New Scientific Approaches to Lupus

Three-Year Grants Aim at Accelerating Novel Research to Unlock the Mysteries of Lupus

New York, NY, March 14, 2006 – The Lupus Research Institute (LRI), sponsor of the nation’s largest innovative, novel research program to prevent, treat and cure lupus, invites applications for financial support for novel research into Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Applications for the three year grants, totaling $300,000, are due on June 1, 2006, with funding commencing on November 1, 2006.

The LRI’s request for proposals comes at a particularly crucial time in overall funding for research, in light of recent cuts to the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) budget for the first time in nearly 40 years, according to Margaret Dowd, LRI President.

The LRI Novel Research Program is designed to encourage high-impact proposals and novel approaches to lupus from investigators who approach lupus research from fresh angles.

“The Lupus Research Institute’s Novel Research Program is solely devoted to new science in lupus, based on the premise and proof that out-of-the-box thinking and idea-driven science leads to breakthroughs in basic and clinical lupus research,” said Ms. Dowd. “The LRI’s ‘high-ROI,’ return-on-investment in terms of research breakthroughs achieved and extended government funding secured, proves the Institute’s strategy is working. The LRI peer review process selects bold, scientifically sound research—new hypotheses in lupus, unimpeded by traditional thinking—which, without our support, would simply not get off the ground."

Since its founding in 2000, the Lupus Research Institute has awarded more than $14.5 million in grants to nearly 60 scientists at leading institutions nationwide. To date, 91 percent of LRI investigators who completed their LRI studies have gone on to secure large-scale federal funding. The LRI’s initial investment of nearly $2.5 million in grants yielded $11.2 million in new funding for scientists to expand their LRI studies.

This year’s LRI grant announcement follows news that the NIH’s budget is to be cut for the first time since 1970. Less NIH funding for research means there will be fewer scientific breakthroughs and advances in disease prevention and treatment. But it also means funding may go to "less risky" studies, thereby jeopardizing novel research, according to Margaret Dowd. "The Lupus Research Institute was created expressly to meet calls for a new scientific culture that allows lupus investigators to test novel hypotheses and, in doing so, to make important discoveries," said Ms. Dowd. "The cuts to the NIH budget point to the need for the private sector to step up to the plate and fill the gap in funding innovative biomedical research."

Grant applications are due on June 1, 2006, with funding commencing on November 1, 2006. For additional information and a copy of the grant application, visit the LRI website—www.lupusresearchinstitute.org—or contact Laura Hack, Grants Administrator, at lupus@lupusny.org or at 212-812-9881.

About Lupus

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system–normally our natural defense against disease—becomes overactive and forms antibodies that attack and damage vital organs and tissues such as the skin, brain, heart, lungs, blood and kidneys. Lupus afflicts 1.5 million Americans, 90 percent of whom are women. It is a leading cause of kidney disease, stroke and cardiovascular disease in young women.

Lupus is unpredictable, highly individualized, hard to live with–and sometimes fatal. As yet, there is no known cause or cure. No new treatments have been approved for lupus in 40 years.

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.