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FAQs About Alliance for Lupus Research

Q: What is different about the Alliance for Lupus Research?

A: The main difference is our 100% focus on research – that’s all we do, and we like to think we do it very well. Through our mission, we are charged to find better treatments for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus), a debilitating autoimmune disease. Ultimately, by supporting medical research, we hope to prevent lupus and cure it.

Other lupus groups offer education and patient support, and we are glad this network exists for those affected by the disease. However, we believe the solution to lupus is increased biomedical research into the disease, and all our efforts reflect this belief. Our Board of Directors pays all fundraising and administrative costs, so 100% of all donations to the ALR including donations through our Walk with Us to Cure Lupus program can go to support lupus research programs. Anyone can participate in an ALR charity walk to help raise funds and increase awareness.

Q: Why is an organization focusing on lupus research needed?

A: In February 1999, Robert Wood Johnson IV - owner of the New York Jets and a member of the Johnson and Johnson Family, whose daughter had recently been diagnosed with lupus –convened a summit of experts in lupus to discuss what could be achieved in the next 15 years given ideal funding circumstances. At the time, very little attention was being paid to lupus research – people with lupus were suffering through years of symptoms before being diagnosed, and then being treated with medicines intended for other diseases, and lupus researchers were sometimes having a hard time keeping their labs open! The conclusion was that there were major scientific opportunities for progress in lupus that would lead to a cure of the disease, and that a new, aggressive approach to research funding was needed. The Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) was formed in response to this challenging opportunity.

Q: How does your research program work?

A: The ALR adopted a model rarely seen in the science world by applying a business approach to the research process. Like venture capitalists in other areas, we look to fund scientifically sound, but also “high risk, high reward” projects.

Through our longest-running grant mechanism, Target Identification in Lupus, we provide large grants with a relatively short funding window of two years to researchers working in areas most likely to lead to a cure. With the lupus research funding from this program, ALR has accelerated the pace of biomedical research studies of lupus.

The ALR also supports the International SLE Genetics Consortium (SLEGEN), a group of researchers determined to uncover the genetic underpinnings of the disease. We are proud to say that SLEGEN researchers have pinpointed several of the genes responsible for the disease.

We also advocate for increased federal funding for lupus research. The U.S. government is the largest source of research funding in the world, and we want to be sure lupus researchers get their fair share!

Q: How do you decide which research projects to fund?

A: The ALR uses a competitive peer review system to ensure lupus research grants go to only the most promising projects. The short explanation is that we assemble a group of highly-regarded researchers in lupus and other related fields to review all of the applications. This group meets to discuss the merits of each of the applications, and assigns each application a score. The scores are tabulated and the results are reported to our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB then meets to discuss the highest scoring proposals. The SAB determine which projects demonstrate the most promise and scientific rigor, then make their recommendations to our Board of Directors (BOD). The BOD then decides which projects will be funded. If you’d like to know more about this process, please visit our Peer Review Process page.

Q: What impact has the ALR had on lupus research?

A: The entire climate surrounding lupus research has changed since ALR entered the picture. As mentioned above, our International SLEGEN Consortium has discovered several of the genes responsible for lupus, opening up many possible targets for genetic researchers. The biotech and pharmaceutical industries have turned their attention to treatments for lupus – many new therapies are currently in clinical trials, several of those resulting from ALR-funded research.

Most importantly, there is new hope for all those living with this disease. People with lupus and their loved ones can rest assured that a very determined group is working hard to end their suffering, and lupus researchers know that they have a dependable resource to help them continue their important work.

Q: I’m a researcher and I would like to apply for funding from the ALR. How do I apply?

A: ALR grant application information, including all related deadlines, can be found on our ALR-Funded Grant Application pages.

Q. How can I help find a cure for lupus?

A. If you’d like to make a donation to the ALR, please visit our Donate page to make a secure, online contribution. You may also call our office at 800-867-1743, or mail a check to the ALR at 28 West 44th Street, Suite 501, New York, NY 10036. One hundred percent (100%) of contributions go towards research, and are tax deductible.

The ALR Walk with Us to Cure Lupus program is another way to support the ALR. Thousands of people across the country have joined this program to raise awareness and funds for lupus research, and have fun in the process! For more information, and to see if there is an ALR Walk in your area, please visit the ALR Walk website.

Q. I still have more questions. Can I get more information?

A. Yes! If you haven’t found everything you were looking for by browsing our website, please feel free to email us or call, toll-free, 800-867-1743.


1.5 million

people in the U.S. have Lupus.

90 million

dollars committed to lupus research by the Alliance for Lupus Research.


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