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Lupus Foundation of America Awards More than $1.1 Million in New Research Grants

Posted Oct 20 2008 5:49am
The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) has awarded more than $1.1 million in new research grants and fellowships as part of its ongoing commitment to bringing down the barriers in developing new treatments and finding a cure for lupus. Lupus is a disabling and life-threatening autoimmune disease that affects approximately 1.5 million Americans -- that’s enough people to fill 30 baseball stadiums.

This year’s LFA research grants will support innovative research initiatives in pediatric/adolescent lupus, lupus in males, and mid-to-late stage translational research. Funds for these initiatives were generously granted to the LFA through the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation in memory of Michael Jon Barlin, who in 2006, at the age of 24, passed away after a long battle with lupus. Additionally, two grant awards will support studies on the use of adult stem cells in lupus. Funds for these awards were provided by the Cooper Family Foundation.

Other areas of research supported by the LFA National Research Program include cutaneous (skin) lupus, kidney disease and lupus, and the cognitive effects of lupus. The LFA also awarded five student summer fellowships to foster an interest in the field of lupus research.

There has not been a new treatment approved for lupus in almost 50 years. Medical and scientific breakthroughs in research lead to new treatments, and without research people with lupus will continue to wait. The LFA received more than 77 grant applications, totaling an estimated $7.8 million in requests for lupus research funding. In 2008, the LFA National Research Program has awarded funding to 13 institutions and 19 researchers in its continuing effort to overcome the challenges that have hindered lupus research in the past.

At least five million people worldwide have a form of lupus, a disease which causes the immune system to go awry and attack the body's own tissue and organs, resulting in debilitating and sometimes fatal consequences that include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and kidney failure.

Since its inception, the LFA and its affiliated chapters have provided $21 million to fund more than 400 grants to research scientists at nearly 100 leading academic and medical institutions throughout the nation. LFA seed grants have led to tens of millions of dollars from other institutions, including the federal government, to allow these researchers to continue their work. In addition to direct support – made possible through donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, and a nationwide network of LFA chapters and support groups, the LFA advocates to greatly expand funds for lupus research through grants from state and federal governments, and through private investment from biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
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