SOURCE: Lupus Foundation of America

Lupus Foundation of America

October 01, 2015 09:00 ET

Lupus Foundation of America Announces 2015 Lupus Research Grantees

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - October 01, 2015) - The Lupus Foundation of America (Foundation), the only national force dedicated to solving the cruel mystery of lupus, today announced five grants that will help lupus investigators conduct critical research.

"The researchers and projects receiving funding have the potential to lead to better treatments and, ultimately, a better quality of life for people with lupus," said Gary S. Gilkeson, M.D., Professor of Medicine/Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina, and Chair of the Lupus Foundation of America Medical-Scientific Advisory Council. "Supporting innovative lupus researchers is a priority for the Lupus Foundation of America. Only by funding vital research, can we achieve our goal of solving the cruel mystery of lupus."

The Foundation's LIFELINE Grant Program™ provides a year's worth of salary support for faculty who experience a gap in external funding for a specific, previously funded study due to the decreased funding available from government sources. The award is intended to keep an investigator's project on track while they reapply for larger federal grants.

This year's LIFELINE recipients are:

  • Jennifer Anolik, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. Dr. Anolik's project will explore how immune cells interact in the bone marrow of people with lupus and in relevant mouse models in order to better understand the development and progression of lupus. This grant award is provided through a trust created in memory of Stephen and Catherine Pida.
  • Trine N. Jorgensen, Ph.D., Assistant Staff, Department of Immunology, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH. Dr. Jorgensen's project will investigate how the mechanisms of immune cells called plasmacytoid dendritic cells, found to be elevated in people with lupus, may lead to the development of lupus. This grant is made possible, in part, by funds provided by the Lupus Foundation of America Greater Ohio Chapter and is presented in memory of Kassie McMullin Biglow.

The Foundation also awarded grants for the study of lupus in children and adolescents through the Michael Jon Barlin Pediatric Research Program, established with the support of the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation:

  • Pediatric Health Outcomes - Earl Silverman, M.D., FRCPC, Division of Rheumatology, SickKids Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, has been awarded the 2015 Lucy Vodden Research, established in memory of Lucy Vodden, by the Lupus Foundation of America and Julian Lennon. This grant is also made possible by funds provided by the Louis Berkowitz Family Foundation. Dr. Silverman's project aims to identify new genetic factors important to kidney function and risk of kidney failure in children with lupus.
  • Adult Stem Cells - Nora G. Singer, M.D., Division Chief of Rheumatology, The MetroHealth System, Cleveland, OH, has been awarded a grant for a project that aims to develop biomarkers that can sensitively detect the therapeutic effect of adult stem cells on people with childhood and adult onset lupus. She will use these biomarkers to develop a test that can be used in clinical trials of mesenchymal stem cells for lupus. This grant is made possible in part by funds provided by the Lupus Foundation of America Greater Ohio Chapter.

Finally, the Foundation awarded a grant to study environmental triggers of lupus to:

  • James J. Pestka, Ph.D., University Distinguished Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Dr. Pestka's project will look at whether dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish, may prevent the inflammation and subsequent autoimmunity caused respirable crystalline silica.

In evaluating submitted applications, the Lupus Foundation of America employs a rigorous, peer-review system that utilizes the same method for review as other major funders of medical research such as National Institutes of Health.

About Lupus

Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with and a challenge to treat. Lupus is a cruel mystery because it is hidden from view and undefined, has a range of symptoms, strikes without warning, and has no known cause and no known cure. Its health effects can range from a skin rash to a heart attack. Lupus is debilitating and destructive and can be fatal, yet research on lupus remains underfunded relative to diseases of similar scope and devastation.

About the Lupus Foundation of America

The Lupus Foundation of America is the only national force devoted to solving the mystery of lupus, one of the world's cruelest, most unpredictable and devastating diseases, while giving caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. Through a comprehensive program of research, education, and advocacy, the Foundation leads the fight to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus. Learn more about lupus, Lupus Science & Medicine Journal and the Lupus Foundation of America at lupus.org. For the latest news and updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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