October 3, 2006 – New York – The Lupus Research Institute, a first-tier novel lupus research funding organization, announced today that it has received a record 92 applications for its Novel Research Grants, which provide select scientists with $300,000 over three years to explore new approaches to prevent, treat and cure lupus. This is a dramatic increase over the 47 applications received in 2000, when the Lupus Research Institute was founded.
The Lupus Research Institute is the only organization providing research funding exclusively at this first-tier "new idea" entry level, casting a broad net to identify and support the brightest novel ideas that have the potential to crack open the mysteries of lupus.
"We are pleased and proud that more scientists are expanding their thinking and applying for Lupus Research Institute funding," said Margaret Dowd, president of the Lupus Research Institute. "Because they are thinking outside the box and pursuing completely novel approaches, we are confident that our scientists will continue to have a significant impact in solving the puzzle of lupus.
"Our strategy for selecting and funding novel ideas is designed to attract fresh talent and scientists from diverse specialties to work in lupus research," Dowd said. "This is key, because lupus is considered the prototype autoimmune disease, causing the body's immune system to form antibodies that can attack virtually any healthy organ or tissue, from the kidneys to the brain, heart, lungs, skin, joints and blood. To address a disease with such broad impact, we are pleased to see grant applications from such varied areas of expertise as cardiology, dermatology, nephrology and neurology, in addition to immunology and rheumatology."
Grant recipients will be selected based on a rigorous peer review that assesses novelty of approach, scientific quality, strength of hypothesis, relevance to lupus and potential for success. The review process is overseen by a panel of experts in lupus research, the Institute's respected and experienced Scientific Advisory Board, which is currently chaired by William E. Paul, M.D., the chief of the laboratory of immunology at the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The Lupus Research Institute Novel Research Grant class of 2006 will be announced at the Institute's annual Forum for Discovery conference October 19-20, 2006, in New York City.
Lupus is one of America's least recognized major diseases. It is estimated that as many as 1.5 million Americans have lupus. Systemic lupus erythematosus (S.L.E.), commonly called lupus, is a chronic and potentially fatal autoimmune disorder. It is considered the prototype autoimmune disease because the body's immune system forms antibodies that can attack virtually any healthy organ or tissue, from the kidneys to the brain, heart, lungs, skin, joints and blood. No major new treatments for lupus have been approved in the last 40 years, and existing medications are highly toxic and can have debilitating effects.
About the Lupus Research Institute
The Lupus Research Institute is the only first-tier novel lupus research funding organization, bridging the chasm between promising new ideas for curing, preventing and treating lupus and next-tier sources of government and private research funding. Created with the help of leading lupus scientists, the Institute now backs the largest number of privately funded scientific investigators in lupus, supporting 56 lupus researchers nationwide.
Government and other private research funding organizations require substantial preliminary data to even apply. As a result, it is virtually impossible for scientists with novel approaches for addressing lupus to secure funding and advance their ideas. The Lupus Research Institute is the only organization providing research funding at this first-tier entry level, casting a broad net to identify, and then support and champion, the brightest novel ideas that have the potential to crack open the mysteries of lupus. More than 60 percent of Lupus Research Institute investigators, using their Institute-funded research results, have gone on to secure $24 million in extended funding from government and other sources.
The urgent need for new approaches for this complex disease led to the creation of the Lupus Research Institute in 2000. Founded and funded by lupus patients and their families, the Institute awarded its first round of grants in 2001, and each successive class of applicants and grant awards has grown. To learn more about lupus and the Lupus Research Institute, visit www.lupusresearchinstitute.org.