HOME
Leading the way to a cure

PRESS RELEASES

Alliance for Lupus Research Awards $2 Million in Grant Funding to Further Mission to Improve Treatment and Find a Cure for Lupus

December 5, 2012

Functional Genomics and Molecular Pathways (FGMP) Grants Announced for 2012

New York, NY – December 5, 2012 -- The Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) – the world’s largest private funder of lupus research – today announced the Functional Genomics and Molecular Pathways (FGMP) medical research grant awards, totaling nearly $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 nearly $9 million to 29 of the world’s brightest and best investigators in 2012 alone and, since 1999, has now dedicated over $80 million to understanding the disease, including this round of funding.

“For more than a decade, the ALR has funded research programs that have greatly furthered clinical knowledge of lupus and led to important treatment advances. The Alliance for Lupus Research FGMP grants are targeted on identifying research projects with the likelihood to remove barriers to new treatments and get them to patients as quickly as possible,” said ALR President Ken Farber. “We hope and expect that the organization’s continued support of important lupus research through the FGMP grant and other grant mechanisms will lead us to ways to prevent and cure this debilitating disease.”

Under the organization’s FGMP grant program, and once passed through the organization’s meticulous, multi-level peer review, investigators leverage an up to two-year award to research new treatments and a possible cure. This grant mechanism was designed to help scientists move forward from the knowledge gained from the finding of the ALR-funded SLE Genetics Consortium (SLEGEN).  Researchers focus on determining how the genes identified by SLEGEN may have a role in the disease, and provide further information about the molecular pathways modulated by these genes.  Ultimately, the hope is that data from these investigations will lay the groundwork for a way to “turn off” the disease at the genetic level. 

Included in this round of awards are innovative studies to:

  • Learn more about how the MIF gene functions to accelerate the application of MIF-based treatments, and provide the first “personalized medicine” approach to treating lupus patients based on genetic susceptibility;
  • Better understand how genetic variants impact normal B cell function and development and contribute to autoantibody production, to provide a broader understanding of one of the mechanisms of disease in lupus;
  • Determine how high particular enzyme levels contribute to autoimmunity to uncover the molecular pathways that link a known defect in the T cells of people with lupus with the development of organ damage;
  • Investigate the of specific miRNAs in regulating toll-like receptor expression which could lead to the potential application of miRNA-based targeted therapy;
  • Explore the essential function of a specific interferon regulatory factor in B cells and these proteins influence the ability of B cells to produce the destructive autoantibodies that are the hallmark of lupus;
  • Explore further the role of certain genes in B cell aberrations to identify opportunities to manipulate B cells early in their development so they can’t contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases like lupus;
  • Develop a novel approach to provide a rich pipeline of molecular targets that could be fast-tracked for the development of lupus-related treatments;
  • Study how a particular gene controls expression relevant to immunity to assess its molecular contribution to lupus; and
  • Investigate the underlying mechanism of a newly-identified risk locus and whether dysfunction in messenger RNA surveillance systems resulting from the lupus-associated variants may be a unique mechanism contributing to the development of lupus.

The Alliance for Lupus Research Functional Genomics and Molecular Pathways Grants Funded in 2012 include:

Principal Investigator

Research Project

Institution

Richard Bucala, M.D., Ph.D.

Function of the Polymorphic MIF Locus in SLE

Yale University

Jane H. Buckner, M.D.

The Impact of Genetic Variants on B cell Development and Function in SLE

Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason

Jose C. Crispin, M.D.

Mechanisms Through Which Protein Phosphatase 2A (PP2A) Promotes SLE

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Yun Deng, M.D.

Does Differential miRNA Binding Explain Allelic Risk of TLR7 for SLE

University of California, Los Angeles

Di Feng, Ph.D.

Identifying IRF5-Medicated Pathways In Normal And SLE B Cells

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School

Peter K. Gregersen, M.D.

Functional Analysis of Csk: A Newly Defined Risk Gene for Lupus

Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Terry K. Means, Ph.D.

In Vivo Validation And Characterization Of Allelic Variants in Lupus

Massachusetts General Hospital

William Tansey, Ph.D.

Characterization Of PHRF1; A Ubiquitin Ligase Implicated in SLE

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Betty Tsao, Ph.D.

Functional Genomics of SLE-associated SMG7/NMNAT2 Locus

University of California, Los Angeles

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.


Alliance for Lupus Research Awards $2 Million in Grant Funding to Further Mission to Improve Treatment and Find a Cure for Lupus

December 5, 2012

Functional Genomics and Molecular Pathways (FGMP) Grants Announced for 2012

New York, NY – December 5, 2012 -- The Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) – the world’s largest private funder of lupus research – today announced the Functional Genomics and Molecular Pathways (FGMP) medical research grant awards, totaling nearly $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 nearly $9 million to 29 of the world’s brightest and best investigators in 2012 alone and, since 1999, has now dedicated over $80 million to understanding the disease, including this round of funding.

“For more than a decade, the ALR has funded research programs that have greatly furthered clinical knowledge of lupus and led to important treatment advances. The Alliance for Lupus Research FGMP grants are targeted on identifying research projects with the likelihood to remove barriers to new treatments and get them to patients as quickly as possible,” said ALR President Ken Farber. “We hope and expect that the organization’s continued support of important lupus research through the FGMP grant and other grant mechanisms will lead us to ways to prevent and cure this debilitating disease.”

Under the organization’s FGMP grant program, and once passed through the organization’s meticulous, multi-level peer review, investigators leverage an up to two-year award to research new treatments and a possible cure. This grant mechanism was designed to help scientists move forward from the knowledge gained from the finding of the ALR-funded SLE Genetics Consortium (SLEGEN).  Researchers focus on determining how the genes identified by SLEGEN may have a role in the disease, and provide further information about the molecular pathways modulated by these genes.  Ultimately, the hope is that data from these investigations will lay the groundwork for a way to “turn off” the disease at the genetic level. 

Included in this round of awards are innovative studies to:

  • Learn more about how the MIF gene functions to accelerate the application of MIF-based treatments, and provide the first “personalized medicine” approach to treating lupus patients based on genetic susceptibility;
  • Better understand how genetic variants impact normal B cell function and development and contribute to autoantibody production, to provide a broader understanding of one of the mechanisms of disease in lupus;
  • Determine how high particular enzyme levels contribute to autoimmunity to uncover the molecular pathways that link a known defect in the T cells of people with lupus with the development of organ damage;
  • Investigate the of specific miRNAs in regulating toll-like receptor expression which could lead to the potential application of miRNA-based targeted therapy;
  • Explore the essential function of a specific interferon regulatory factor in B cells and these proteins influence the ability of B cells to produce the destructive autoantibodies that are the hallmark of lupus;
  • Explore further the role of certain genes in B cell aberrations to identify opportunities to manipulate B cells early in their development so they can’t contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases like lupus;
  • Develop a novel approach to provide a rich pipeline of molecular targets that could be fast-tracked for the development of lupus-related treatments;
  • Study how a particular gene controls expression relevant to immunity to assess its molecular contribution to lupus; and
  • Investigate the underlying mechanism of a newly-identified risk locus and whether dysfunction in messenger RNA surveillance systems resulting from the lupus-associated variants may be a unique mechanism contributing to the development of lupus.

The Alliance for Lupus Research Functional Genomics and Molecular Pathways Grants Funded in 2012 include:

Principal Investigator

Research Project

Institution

Richard Bucala, M.D., Ph.D.

Function of the Polymorphic MIF Locus in SLE

Yale University

Jane H. Buckner, M.D.

The Impact of Genetic Variants on B cell Development and Function in SLE

Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason

Jose C. Crispin, M.D.

Mechanisms Through Which Protein Phosphatase 2A (PP2A) Promotes SLE

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Yun Deng, M.D.

Does Differential miRNA Binding Explain Allelic Risk of TLR7 for SLE

University of California, Los Angeles

Di Feng, Ph.D.

Identifying IRF5-Medicated Pathways In Normal And SLE B Cells

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School

Peter K. Gregersen, M.D.

Functional Analysis of Csk: A Newly Defined Risk Gene for Lupus

Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Terry K. Means, Ph.D.

In Vivo Validation And Characterization Of Allelic Variants in Lupus

Massachusetts General Hospital

William Tansey, Ph.D.

Characterization Of PHRF1; A Ubiquitin Ligase Implicated in SLE

Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Betty Tsao, Ph.D.

Functional Genomics of SLE-associated SMG7/NMNAT2 Locus

University of California, Los Angeles

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.



1.5 million

people in the U.S. have Lupus.

90 million

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


We're walking across the United States to raise awareness and funds for lupus research.

Can't make it? Join our National Virtual Walk to participate anytime, anywhere.


Show your support by visiting the Alliance for Lupus Research online store. Discover the perfect gift, or prepare for a walk with our selection of apparel and accessories.

Powered by Convio
nonprofit software