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New Round of Lupus Research Institute Awards Brings Promise of More Breakthroughs
Date:10/22/2007

inical studies in humans, were selected by the Institute's distinguished Peer Review Committee because of their unique and potentially groundbreaking nature. The committee seeks the best new science and the widest possible scope of ideas. While high-risk in many cases, the studies are also ripe with promise for cracking the mysteries of a disorder that devastates more than 1.5 million Americans, and millions more worldwide. No new treatment for lupus has been approved in nearly 50 years, and current therapies can be toxic.

The LRI encourages grant applications from such diverse disciplines as genetics, immunology, cardiology, and neurology, and from both experienced scientists and new investigators. Some recipients may never have worked in lupus, but their hypotheses have the potential to shed light on the mysteries of this disabling disease. Several of the 2007 grant recipients, for example, are investigating potential lupus biomarkers ("early markers" or "predictors" of disease and treatments) that might help diagnose, monitor, and treat lupus more successfully than current tests do. Altogether, the LRI has made possible the investigation of more than 20 potential biomarkers, 6 of which are already being tested in people.

"These 2007 research grants are of exceptional interest and quality, and will likely lead to important advances in lupus," said David S. Pisetsky, MD, PhD, co-chair of the LRI Peer Review Task Force and chief of the Division of Rheumatology and Immunology at Duke University Medical Center. "By building on recent findings in basic research, especially in immunology, on the mechanisms underlying the origin and development of lupus, they may well lead to improved care and treatment for people with this difficult illness."

Top lupus scientists from government and academia on the Institute's Peer Review Task Force rigorously evaluate the submissions. Dr. Pisetsky co- chaired the 2007 Task Force with Mark Shlomchik, MD, PhD, professor
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SOURCE The Lupus Research Institute
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