NEW YORK, NY. June 19, 2019. The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Fiscal Year 2020 Defense Appropriations Act, which allocates the Lupus Research Alliance advocate’s full request for $10 million — double the current budget — for the Lupus Research Program in the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.
The Lupus Research Program was first established in Fiscal Year 2017. The response from the nation’s scientific community has been overwhelming, reflecting the tremendous need for research funding. In the first two years, 220 applications were received, which represents about $80 million in requested funding. But with a limited budget of $5 million each year, only 25 grants could be given to date. Your advocacy outreach convinced the House to double their investment to $10 million for Fiscal Year 2020. We are especially proud to see this program grow since our advocates worked to secure it for over 10 years and requested the increased budget when on the Hill March 19.
“We sincerely thank House Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Defense Subcommittee Chair Peter Visclosky (D-IN) as well as the Congressional Lupus Caucus Co-chairs: William Keating (D-MA), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Peter King (R-NY),” noted Kenneth M. Farber, Lupus Research Alliance co-president and co-CEO. “These leaders – and all their House colleagues – heard the stories our advocates shared and understood the need to invest in world-class scientific research. We thank them all.”
The FY2020 Defense Appropriations Act awaits action by the U.S. Senate.
Lupus Affects the Military
Nine out of ten people with lupus are women and the risk is significantly greater among African-Americans, Hispanics, Native-Americans and Asians. Women account for almost 15 percent of active duty Service Members, almost 20 percent of Reserves and 16 percent of the National Guard. A recent Pew Research Center report found that the active-duty female force is racially diverse – nearly one-third (31%) of active-duty women are black (including black Hispanics). Twelve (12) percent of women in the Armed Forces report their ethnicity as Hispanic, whether white or black. Our nation now has over 2 million women veterans.
Lupus is a chronic, complex autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide. More than 90% of people with lupus are women; lupus most often strikes during the childbearing years of 15-45. African Americans, Latinx, Asians and Native Americans are two to three times at greater risk than Caucasians. In lupus, the immune system, which is designed to protect against infection, creates antibodies that can attack any part of the body including the kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, blood, skin, and joints.
About the Lupus Research Alliance
The Lupus Research Alliance aims to transform treatment while advancing toward a cure by funding the most innovative lupus research in the world. The organization’s stringent peer review grant process fosters diverse scientific talent who are driving discovery toward better diagnostics, improved treatments and ultimately a cure for lupus. Because the Lupus Research Alliance’s Board of Directors fund all administrative and fundraising costs, 100% of all donations goes to support lupus research programs.