2017: A Year of Great Triumph
2017: A Year of Great Triumph

Nov. 28, 2017.

Thanks to you, the Lupus Research Alliance continues to make game-changing gains in advancing the basic understanding of lupus … while giving hope to millions of people that a potential cure is within reach.

We Invested in Innovative Research

The Lupus Research Alliance gave 19 scientists the means to bring their ideas to fruition through three crucial venues:

  • 7 scientists received nearly $4 million in grants through our two-year Target Identification in Lupus (TIL) grant program.
  • Our Novel Research Grant Program awarded $3 million for high-risk, high-reward, novel research projects relevant to basic, translational and clinical investigations in lupus.
  • The William E. Paul Distinguished Innovator Award in Lupus and Autoimmunity challenged exceptional scientists to pursue innovative, hypothesis- or discovery-driven projects with $1 million in grants.

We Accelerated Drug Development 

In 2017, we propelled five studies conducted through our Lupus Clinical Investigators Network (LuCIN) with objectives that ranged from evaluating the benefits of using timed-released prednisone … to using MRI technology to assess lupus nephritis … to testing a smartphone app letting lupus patients report symptoms in real time — and more.

We Fostered  Collaboration

This year, the Lupus Research Alliance again played a pivotal role in bringing together the key players in the fight against lupus — the pharmaceutical industry, the U.S. government, the lupus community, and our own grantees.

  • The Corporate Leadership Circle invited pharmaceutical and biotech companies to share strategic priorities and consult on the best ways to deliver new treatments.
  • The Lupus Industry Council unified industry and academia to address common obstacles and accelerate lupus drug development.
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) worked toward a better understanding of lupus and diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, and skin.

Closer to home, Lupus Research Alliance-funded scientists met at our Annual Investigators’ Collaborative Meeting in New York City in October to share their aims, hopes and latest findings.

We Advocated for Lupus Research

Our advocacy work brought in urgently needed millions for lupus research.  The Lupus Research Alliance participated in one advocacy effort that resulted in the $5 million Lupus Medical Research Program established within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) operated under the Defense Health Programs.  Another effort garnered $2 billion for the NIH to advance medical research, including lupus.

We also created a platform for patients to voice their concerns.  The Patient-Focused Drug Development (PFDD) Initiative — a collaborative effort with the Lupus and Allied Diseases Association and the Lupus Foundation of America — developed a pioneering approach to providing the FDA with patient perspectives by empowering patients with the knowledge that their words can open minds and  guide policy.

We Celebrated Outstanding Research

This year’s Lupus Insight Prize of $150,000 was awarded to Virginia Pascal, MD, for a project that shows great promise in understanding the events leading to lupus flares.  Dr. Pascal was recently named Founding Director of the Gale and Ira Drukier Institute for Children’s Health at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City.

And the 2017 recipients of the Dr. William E. Paul Distinguished Innovator Awards in Lupus and Autoimmunity are Michael Carroll, PhD, Children’s Hospital Boston and John D. Mountz, MD, PhD, The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

We Transformed Compassion into Research

Average Americans achieved the extraordinary. By participating in our national grassroots fundraising effort — Walk with Us to Cure Lupus — people from all walks of life asked their families, friends, and colleagues to sponsor them in support of the Lupus Research Alliance.  These determined individuals gave it their all — and it paid off!  Since 2002, they generated nearly $36 million for Lupus Research Alliance’s critical scientific initiatives.


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