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Alliance for Lupus Research Awards More Than $5 Million in Grant Funding – Furthers Commitment to Improving Treatment and Finding a Cure

April 11, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Alliance for Lupus Research Awards More Than $5 Million in Grant Funding – Furthers Commitment to Improving Treatment and Finding a Cure


Target Identification in Lupus (TIL) Grants Announced for 2012


New York, NY – April 11, 2012 -- The Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) – the world’s largest private funder of lupus research – today announced the Target Identification in Lupus (TIL) medical research grant awards, totaling nearly $5.2 million, which support the ALR mission of finding better treatments and ultimately preventing and curing systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus), a debilitating autoimmune disease. The organization awarded more than $6 million in lupus research in 2011 and, since 1999, has now dedicated over $72 million to understanding the disease, including this round of funding.

“The Alliance for Lupus Research TIL grants are focused on identifying research projects with the potential to remove barriers to new treatments and get them to patients as quickly as possible,” said ALR President Ken Farber. “For more than a decade, the ALR has funded research programs that have greatly furthered clinical understanding of lupus and led to important treatment advances such as the first-ever FDA approved treatment for the disease. We hope that the organization’s continued support of important lupus research through the TIL grant and other grant mechanisms
will lead to new treatments and ultimately a cure.”

Under the organization’s TIL grant program, and once passed through the organization’s rigorous, multi-level peer review, investigators leverage a two-year award to research new treatments and a possible cure. All lupus research funded under the TIL program is focused on studies that can move quickly from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside.

Included in this round of awards are innovative studies to:

  • Assess the role of a specific miRNA cluster in the development of lupus, which could lead to treatments that reduce or prevent lupus-related inflammation and symptoms; 
  • Better understand the role of certain inflammatory immune system cells (microphages) in the development of lupus nephritis, which can lead to kidney failure in patients with lupus;
  • Identify biochemical and cellular pathways that cause the formation of organ damaging autoantibodies in order to provide new therapeutic targets for lupus treatment and prevention;
  • Investigate the role of neutrophils (white blood cells) in inducing lupus-related organ damage, which could lead to therapies which inhibit the molecular process responsible for this damage;
  • Analyze defects in certain regulatory immune cells in order to gain insights into the best ways to correct the dysfunctional immune response that causes lupus;
  • Explore the potential for targeted therapies that block immune responses to specific nucleic acid receptors using nucleic acid binding polymers;
  • Determine how a specific type of T cell may contribute to the development of lupus by examining how these cells differ between pediatric patients with lupus and healthy children;
  • Utilize two cutting-edge technology platforms to determine if certain autoantibodies are more active in specific patients, which could increase the potential for customized therapies;
  • Identify and validate biomarkers to improve the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of patients with lupus-related kidney disease; and
  • Study nucleic acids produced by genetic mutations which cause lupus in order to identify biomarkers to help track disease progression and develop new treatments.

The Alliance for Lupus Research TIL Grants Funded in 2012 include:

 

Principal Investigator

Research Project

Institution

Rujuan Dai, Ph.D.

Targeting the miR-182-96-183 Cluster To Ameliorate Lupus

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Vicki Kelley, Ph.D.

Distinguishing CSF-1 And IL-34 As Therapeutic Targets For Lupus Nephritis

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Terri M. Laufer, M.D.

Follicular Helper T Cells: Altered Differentiation In Lupus

University of Pennsylvania

Tanya Mayadas, Ph.D.

Analysis And Treatment Of Organ Damage In A Humanized Mouse Model Of Lupus

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Alessandra Pernis, M.D.

Effector Tregs in Lupus

The Hospital for Special Surgery

David Pisetsky, M.D., Ph.D.

Nucleic Acid Binding Polymers in the Treatment for SLE

Duke University Medical Center

Hideki Ueno, M.D., Ph.D.

Altered T Follicular Helper Cell Subsets In Active Pediatric Lupus

Baylor Research Institute

Paul Utz, M.D.

SLE Target Identification Using CyTOF and Multiplexed Assays

Stanford University

Joan Wither, M.D., Ph.D.

Identification of Biomarkers for Patient Stratification in Lupus Nephritis

University Health Network, Canada

Nan Yan, Ph.D.

Identification of Endogenous Nucleic Acids as Targets in Lupus

UT Southwestern Medical Center


"Examining lupus at the cellular level is critical in determining which antibodies, nucleic acids and biomarkers play a key role in the development and manifestation of the disease,” says Mr. Farber. “This round of TIL grants are heavily focused on studies at the cellular level. We expect these studies, as have many other ALR-funded studies in the past, will drive us closer to ways to prevent and possibly cure this debilitating disease.”

About Lupus
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus) is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect the joints and almost every major organ in the body, including the heart, kidneys, skin, lungs, and brain. As many as 1.5
 million people in the United States have lupus which affects mostly women during childbearing years, though men and children can have the disease. Lupus is three times more common in African-American women than in Caucasian women and is also more prevalent in women of Latino, Asian, and Native American descent.

About the ALR
The Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) is a national voluntary health organization dedicated to finding better treatments and ultimately preventing and curing systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus), a debilitating autoimmune disease. The organization is based in New York City and chaired by Robert Wood Johnson IV, a member of the founding family of Johnson & Johnson. Since its founding in 1999, the ALR has given more money to lupus research than any non-governmental agency in the world. The board of directors funds all administrative and fundraising costs, allowing one hundred percent of all donations from the public, and the proceeds of our signature grassroots fundraising program, Walk with Us to Cure Lupus, to go directly to support research programs. More information can be found at www.lupusresearch.org.

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Alliance for Lupus Research Awards More Than $5 Million in Grant Funding – Furthers Commitment to Improving Treatment and Finding a Cure

April 11, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Alliance for Lupus Research Awards More Than $5 Million in Grant Funding – Furthers Commitment to Improving Treatment and Finding a Cure


Target Identification in Lupus (TIL) Grants Announced for 2012


New York, NY – April 11, 2012 -- The Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) – the world’s largest private funder of lupus research – today announced the Target Identification in Lupus (TIL) medical research grant awards, totaling nearly $5.2 million, which support the ALR mission of finding better treatments and ultimately preventing and curing systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus), a debilitating autoimmune disease. The organization awarded more than $6 million in lupus research in 2011 and, since 1999, has now dedicated over $72 million to understanding the disease, including this round of funding.

“The Alliance for Lupus Research TIL grants are focused on identifying research projects with the potential to remove barriers to new treatments and get them to patients as quickly as possible,” said ALR President Ken Farber. “For more than a decade, the ALR has funded research programs that have greatly furthered clinical understanding of lupus and led to important treatment advances such as the first-ever FDA approved treatment for the disease. We hope that the organization’s continued support of important lupus research through the TIL grant and other grant mechanisms
will lead to new treatments and ultimately a cure.”

Under the organization’s TIL grant program, and once passed through the organization’s rigorous, multi-level peer review, investigators leverage a two-year award to research new treatments and a possible cure. All lupus research funded under the TIL program is focused on studies that can move quickly from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside.

Included in this round of awards are innovative studies to:

  • Assess the role of a specific miRNA cluster in the development of lupus, which could lead to treatments that reduce or prevent lupus-related inflammation and symptoms; 
  • Better understand the role of certain inflammatory immune system cells (microphages) in the development of lupus nephritis, which can lead to kidney failure in patients with lupus;
  • Identify biochemical and cellular pathways that cause the formation of organ damaging autoantibodies in order to provide new therapeutic targets for lupus treatment and prevention;
  • Investigate the role of neutrophils (white blood cells) in inducing lupus-related organ damage, which could lead to therapies which inhibit the molecular process responsible for this damage;
  • Analyze defects in certain regulatory immune cells in order to gain insights into the best ways to correct the dysfunctional immune response that causes lupus;
  • Explore the potential for targeted therapies that block immune responses to specific nucleic acid receptors using nucleic acid binding polymers;
  • Determine how a specific type of T cell may contribute to the development of lupus by examining how these cells differ between pediatric patients with lupus and healthy children;
  • Utilize two cutting-edge technology platforms to determine if certain autoantibodies are more active in specific patients, which could increase the potential for customized therapies;
  • Identify and validate biomarkers to improve the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of patients with lupus-related kidney disease; and
  • Study nucleic acids produced by genetic mutations which cause lupus in order to identify biomarkers to help track disease progression and develop new treatments.

The Alliance for Lupus Research TIL Grants Funded in 2012 include:

 

Principal Investigator

Research Project

Institution

Rujuan Dai, Ph.D.

Targeting the miR-182-96-183 Cluster To Ameliorate Lupus

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Vicki Kelley, Ph.D.

Distinguishing CSF-1 And IL-34 As Therapeutic Targets For Lupus Nephritis

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Terri M. Laufer, M.D.

Follicular Helper T Cells: Altered Differentiation In Lupus

University of Pennsylvania

Tanya Mayadas, Ph.D.

Analysis And Treatment Of Organ Damage In A Humanized Mouse Model Of Lupus

Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Alessandra Pernis, M.D.

Effector Tregs in Lupus

The Hospital for Special Surgery

David Pisetsky, M.D., Ph.D.

Nucleic Acid Binding Polymers in the Treatment for SLE

Duke University Medical Center

Hideki Ueno, M.D., Ph.D.

Altered T Follicular Helper Cell Subsets In Active Pediatric Lupus

Baylor Research Institute

Paul Utz, M.D.

SLE Target Identification Using CyTOF and Multiplexed Assays

Stanford University

Joan Wither, M.D., Ph.D.

Identification of Biomarkers for Patient Stratification in Lupus Nephritis

University Health Network, Canada

Nan Yan, Ph.D.

Identification of Endogenous Nucleic Acids as Targets in Lupus

UT Southwestern Medical Center


"Examining lupus at the cellular level is critical in determining which antibodies, nucleic acids and biomarkers play a key role in the development and manifestation of the disease,” says Mr. Farber. “This round of TIL grants are heavily focused on studies at the cellular level. We expect these studies, as have many other ALR-funded studies in the past, will drive us closer to ways to prevent and possibly cure this debilitating disease.”

About Lupus
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus) is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect the joints and almost every major organ in the body, including the heart, kidneys, skin, lungs, and brain. As many as 1.5
 million people in the United States have lupus which affects mostly women during childbearing years, though men and children can have the disease. Lupus is three times more common in African-American women than in Caucasian women and is also more prevalent in women of Latino, Asian, and Native American descent.

About the ALR
The Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) is a national voluntary health organization dedicated to finding better treatments and ultimately preventing and curing systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus), a debilitating autoimmune disease. The organization is based in New York City and chaired by Robert Wood Johnson IV, a member of the founding family of Johnson & Johnson. Since its founding in 1999, the ALR has given more money to lupus research than any non-governmental agency in the world. The board of directors funds all administrative and fundraising costs, allowing one hundred percent of all donations from the public, and the proceeds of our signature grassroots fundraising program, Walk with Us to Cure Lupus, to go directly to support research programs. More information can be found at www.lupusresearch.org.

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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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