Lupus Research Institute Launches Novel Studies in Human Lupus

Innovative research in human tissue to drive discovery of new therapies

Science is ready. Answers are needed. People will benefit.

The Lupus Research Institute (LRI) invites scientists with innovative ideas about what goes wrong in human lupus and ways to fix it to apply for grant funding to mount novel investigations in Human Lupus Biology.

Novel research conducted directly in human tissue will close an existing knowledge gap, extend the horizons of lupus research, and advance the development of more effective and less toxic treatments for people who suffer with this complex and difficult illness.

Rapid discovery and technological advances make new direction possible.

Fast-paced scientific discovery in lupus is producing a multitude of insights into the mechanisms at play in animal models of the lupus immune system gone awry.

Now the relevance of these findings needs to be established in human disease.

“What works in the mouse with lupus just doesn’t always work in the person with lupus—including what may first appear to be promising drug treatments,” said Michel Nussenzweig, MD, PhD, of Rockefeller University in New York and a member of the LRI’s Scientific Advisory Board and Novel Research Task Force. “We are therefore enthusiastic about supporting research in patients.”

Today the technology exists to take important animal model findings to the next level and open windows of discovery in human lupus—a critical step to developing successful new therapies. Often, only a small amount of human material is needed to supply key information.

“The real need in lupus research is creative work in human lupus biology,” said Peter E. Lipsky, MD, chief of the Autoimmunity Branch of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). “This is one of the most important areas to pursue. And now, for the first time, we have the tools to ask incisive questions and make new insights directly in the human lupus immune system,”

Powerful pooling of talent and technology

Because the most productive research in human lupus requires basic scientists with cutting edge ideas and experimental techniques, clinicians with access to large patient cohorts, plus key technology components, the LRI will consider consortia applications for this Human Lupus Biology initiative.

Up to three investigators at one or more institutions can now request up to $900,000 over three years to pursue novel human lupus studies. Consortia represent the ability to generate diverse skilled groups—our best scientists and best clinicians regardless of institutional affiliation—coming together to move the field forward.

Pioneering discovery

Since initiating its program of novel research and ambitious inquiry in lupus eight years ago, the LRI has been at the forefront of the field—supporting innovation and risk, and producing dramatic scientific results and novel insights into lupus and autoimmunity. LRI grants for innovative hypotheses have now produced well over $35 million in NIH and other funding for novel work in lupus.

With the addition of the Human Lupus Biology initiative to its ongoing Novel Research Program, the LRI further propels the field of lupus inquiry, discovery, and results, bringing tangible hope for better treatments and a cure for this disease.