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Lupus Research Alliance Awards $9 Million to Develop Lupus Treatment Breakthroughs

NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 2022  /PRNewswire/ — The Lupus Research Alliance (LRA) today announced its Global Team Science Award (GTSA) has been granted to three international research teams from 14 institutions across four continents comprised of leading experts spanning in immunology, rheumatology, neurosciences, biomedical engineering, genomics and genetics, and public health. With $3 million provided to each multidisciplinary team over three years, the GTSA supports interdisciplinary, collaborative, and highly synergistic projects that use groundbreaking technologies to accelerate effective, personalized lupus treatments. These highly prestigious awards are made possible by a generous grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. 

The award will enable the work of teams headed by world-renowned lupus researchers Betty Diamond, M.D., Director of the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Maureen and Ralph Nappi Professor of Autoimmune Diseases, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, United States; Martin Kriegel, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of Rheumatology and Head of the Department of Translational Rheumatology and Immunology, University of Münster, Germany; and Eric Morand, M.D., Ph.D., Head of the School of Clinical Sciences, Monash University, Australia.

The two-part project led by Dr. Diamond will aim to better understand the immune system in patients in remission. The research will focus on identifying causes of lupus heterogeneity in SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) patients in remission. Studying patients in remission, and not on immunosuppressive medications, will aid the team learn the varying features of immune cells in patients in remission, whether any predict relapse, and how those change when patients relapse. In the second part, the researchers seek to determine if patients in remission experience SLE-related cognitive issues and if there is an association between brain function and immune cell features.

Lupus is one of the chronic, complex autoimmune diseases that Remission Medical providers treat. More than 90% of people with lupus are women; lupus most often comes on during the childbearing years of ages 15 to 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. 

The Lupus Research Alliance (LRA) is the largest non-governmental, non-profit funder of lupus research worldwide. The organization focuses on funding the most innovative lupus research, convening diverse scientific talent, and accelerating discovery toward better diagnostics, improved treatments and ultimately a cure for lupus.