Lupus Foundation of America Awards New Research Funding to Address Issues Critical to Lupus Patients

Jan 06, 2010, 14:21 ET from Lupus Foundation of America

Research areas include management of the disease in children and teens, improving health outcomes, underlying genetic causes of male lupus, facilitating greater accuracy in the diagnosis of lupus

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Lupus Foundation of America, Inc. (LFA) announced today new funding for research grants to address issues of critical importance for people with lupus, including the management of the disease in children and teens, improving health outcomes, the underlying genetic causes of male lupus, facilitating greater accuracy in the diagnosis of lupus, and the development of new, safe, and effective treatments. In addition, the LFA awarded five student fellowships to foster an interest in lupus research, and renewed funding for the Lupus Biomarkers Clinical Consortium, a collaborative initiative that seeks to identify biomarkers that hold promise to facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of lupus.

The LFA National Research Program, Bringing Down the Barriers, is unique because it not only funds basic and clinical research, but also focuses on areas that have been inadequately funded by the federal government, industry, or other organizations. The LFA is the only national organization to focus on pediatric research through its Michael Jon Barlin Pediatric Research Program, which was established with the generous support of the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation in memory of Michael Jon Barlin, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 24 following a long battle with lupus. Other areas of study currently or previously supported by LFA's National Research Program include epidemiology, cardiovascular disease, novel pilot approaches, and adult stem cell transplantation.

"More than ever before, this year's research studies funded through LFA's National Research Program hold the potential to have an immediate and direct impact on patients and their quality of life," said Sandra C. Raymond, LFA President and CEO. "For example, the LFA is funding the development of a tool that seeks to ultimately improve the self-management skills of children with lupus, which will aid in their transition to adults, and lead to overall better management of the disease."

It has been 50 years since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug for lupus. As part of its ongoing commitment to bring down the barriers that have obstructed research on lupus, the LFA and its affiliated chapters have provided $22 million to fund more than 400 grants to investigators at approximately 100 leading academic and medical institutions throughout the nation. LFA seed grants, made possible through donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, and a nationwide network of LFA chapters, have led to tens of millions of research dollars from other sources, including the federal government. In recent years, the LFA and its advocates have greatly expanded funds for lupus research through grants from state and federal governments, and through private investment from biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. For a full list of grantees and additional information about the LFA National Research Program visit the LFA website at

About Lupus

Lupus is an acute and chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system is unbalanced, causing inflammation and tissue damage to virtually any organ in the body. Its health effects include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, miscarriages, and organ failure. Ninety percent of the people with lupus are women, and it is two to three times more common among African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, and Asians. Lupus is unpredictable and potentially fatal, yet at present no satisfactory treatment or cure exists.

About the LFA

The LFA is the foremost national nonprofit voluntary health organization dedicated to finding the causes of and cure for lupus, and providing support, services, and hope to all people affected by lupus. Founded in 1977, the LFA has a nationwide network of nearly 300 chapters and support groups and operates programs of research, education, and advocacy.

About the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation

Wallace Henry Coulter was an engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, and visionary. He was co-founder and Chairman of Coulter(R) Corporation, a worldwide medical diagnostics company, and through his discovery of the Coulter(R) Principle, is responsible for the current practice of hematology laboratory medicine.

Named for Coulter, the Foundation is dedicated to the advancement of translational research in biomedical engineering with the goal of accelerating the introduction of new technologies into patient care. The Foundation received its first funding in 1999 and since then has worked with colleges, universities, and professional associations that Wallace Coulter was associated with during his lifetime. His values of endless curiosity, continuous learning, teamwork, consideration, and respect for the individual, coupled with the highest level of ethics and integrity, are the cornerstone values of the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.

LFA chapters that have provided contributions in support of the National Research Program:

Akron Area Chapter

Arizona Chapter

Eastern Virginia Chapter

Greater Washington Chapter

Illinois Chapter, Central Illinois Branch

Indiana Chapter

Marcy Zitron Chapter

Memphis Area Chapter

Pacific Northwest Chapter

Piedmont Chapter

Southeast Florida Chapter

Winston-Triad Chapter

Wisconsin Chapter

SOURCE Lupus Foundation of America