“The greatest scientific advances cannot be made without the willingness to venture
into the unknown, and the Lupus Research Institute is unique in taking on high-risk projects that can bring high-reward results.”
January holds all the excitement of the future unfolding with the promise of possibilities. Momentum fueled by the extraordinary accomplishments of 2012 as the LRI continues to Turn Lupus Research Upside Down.
And What a Year It Was!
By any measure, 2012 set records at the LRI, marked by solid documented success as we:
Achieved Breakthrough Research Results
In 2012, LRI led the field as the catalyst of change. Our researchers continued to produce pivotal discoveries across a broad scope of the disease from basic cause to patient care. Some noted highlights that can lead to better diagnosis and new drug development include:
- Development of a new test to facilitate diagnosis using experimental silicon-chip technology
- Development of new biomarkers to monitor status of treatment for kidney disease
- Insight on improving targeted treatments for kidney disease
- Showed how lupus may begin when cells mistake their own genetic materials for a virus and alert the immune system to attack
- Learned how discovery of an antibody that attacks the brain might also help explain pregnancy loss in lupus
- Answers to how a particular protein might cause lupus and increase lupus patients' risk for heart disease
- Found a new pathway that may prevent the immune system from reacting to dying cells with implications for lupus and other autoimmune diseases
- Discovered three new genes linked to lupus, possibly explaining prevalance in particular ethnic groups
- Discovered how sunlight can trigger inflammation of the skin, with implications for understanding lupus skin rash
The LRI is uniquely dedicated to innovation, ahead of the curve and out in front, funding only the most creative, novel research that consistently delivers groundbreaking results. This year we:
- Awarded the first $1 million lupus research grants from the private sector. Two outstanding scientists are now charged with a bold but achievable goal — to uncover the fundamental root causes of lupus that can drive to prevention and a cure. The LRI’s Distinguished Innovators Initiative is the only such award at this level, providing leading scientists worldwide with necessary resources to direct their talent to solving lupus.
- Afforded opportunities for brilliant scientists to focus their creativity on lupus with $3.6 million in new grants for 12 transformative novel research projects. These highly sought-after grants consistently attract new talent and new ideas to lupus research by allowing scientists to take the risks needed to turn vision into results.
Fostered Research Collaboration
The LRI is the leading facilitator of collaboration, bringing together industry, academia, government and other organizations to accelerate development of new treatments.
- Fostered open and creative scientific exchange among a record number of researchers, government, pharmaceutical and biotech leaders at the LRI’s Forum for Discovery, the world’s premier annual lupus scientific conference. In 2012 a top industry panel tackled challenges in lupus drug development.
- Partnered with EMD Serono, Merck KGaA Darmstadt, Germany, on first joint industry/private sector lupus research collaboration.
- Launched first-of-a-kind Lupus Insight Prize in concert with two lupus organizations. The award recognizes an outstanding investigator who has a documented record of creativity and productivity in lupus research with a high likelihood of generating further advances.
Impacted Legislation On Behalf of Lupus Patients
- Achieved the decade’s most significant advancement in reducing racial disparities among people with lupus — securing Congressional appropriations now totaling $5.6 million to support the Lupus Initiative, the LRI’s signature advocacy achievement. Conceived in collaboration with the U.S. Office of Minority Health, Office of Women’s Health and the U.S. Surgeon General, the Lupus Initiative is designed to alleviate racial and health disparities by training healthcare professionals, particularly those in underserved communities, to recognize, diagnose and treat lupus promptly.
- Joined with members of the U.S. Congressional Lupus Caucus and other lupus community partners in hosting a Congressional briefing to educate Members of Congress about the pressing needs of people with lupus.
- Harnessed the power of LRI’s National Patient Coalition affiliates who came from around the country to converge on Capitol Hill, meeting with state and federal representatives on behalf of the entire lupus community.
- Petitioned the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for health insurance policies that will ensure proper treatment for all lupus patients.
Built on a decade’s pioneering discoveries and propelled by 2012’s unsurpassed results, the LRI is poised to further transform lupus research in 2013. We’ll keep you posted. Visit our website at LupusResearchInstitute.org as we announce significant achievements. And always, thank you for your continued support of our mission to offer patients a Life Without Lupus!