March 23, 2018
The Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018 that passed today includes key provisions the Lupus Research Alliance and lupus advocates have worked for all year. Lupus advocates, participating just days before for our annual March Capitol Hill Day, had requested program funding for 2019 and had asked legislators to also finish the spending bill for Fiscal Year 2018.
As requested by lupus advocates, the budget provides an additional $3 billion for biomedical research funded by the National Institutes of Health as well as $5 million to continue the Lupus Research Program at the Department of Defense (DoD) first established in 2017. The Lupus Research Alliance is particularly proud to see the tremendous success of this program which our advocates have worked on securing for over 10 years.
Appropriations Dedicated for Lupus Research
DoD data show that women – the primary population affected by lupus – now make up a much greater share of our armed forces and veterans than ever before. Lupus also disproportionately targets women of color; a recent report found that the active-duty female force is racially diverse.
Bill Supports Request for NIH Funding Increase
The bill provides a total of $37 billion for NIH, an increase of $3 billion above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.
“More research funding is urgently needed for people with lupus and all chronic diseases,” noted Kenneth M. Farber, CEO and President, Lupus Research Alliance. “Only one drug has ever been approved specifically for lupus, and the drugs borrowed from other diseases like cancer can have serious side effects. Our organization allows investigators to pursue the most innovative ideas that can make a tremendous difference in the field. But they must also be able to go further with the support that comes from the NIH to turn their discoveries into the improvements in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention people with lupus need and deserve.”
Strong Leadership from the Congressional Lupus Caucus
Lupus research continues as a top priority of the Congressional Lupus Caucus led by Co-chairs Representatives Tom Rooney (R-FL), William Keating (D-MA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). The Caucus has responded extremely positively to Lupus Research Alliance advocates who met and contacted their legislators. The Lupus Research Alliance also thanks House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and Defense Subcommittee Chair Kay Granger (R-TX) for their commitment to the lupus community.
Lupus is a chronic, complex autoimmune disease that affects millions worldwide. More than 90% of people with lupus are women; the majority are diagnosed between the ages of 15 to 44. Women of color are especially at risk. In lupus, the immune system, which is designed to protect against infection, creates antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues and organs — 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 financing 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.