A Medical Device Daily Staff Report

The Lupus Research Institute (LRI; New York) reported first $1 million research grants given to lupus investigators by a private research organization. The LRI Distinguished Innovator Initiative was created to address the current lack of treatments in development that could arrest or reverse the disease.

The first privately funded awards of this scale in lupus, it challenges the international scientific community to pursue highly promising new ideas on the fundamental causes of lupus that can lead to a cure.

The two Distinguished Innovator recipients, Drs. Ann Marshak-Rothstein at University of Massachusetts Medical School (Worcester, Massachusetts) and Greg Barton at University of California, Berkeley, independently zeroed in on one family of proteins called Toll-like receptors as key triggers of the body's devastating autoimmune attack on itself that characterizes lupus. Because TLR proteins are essential in fighting any infection, how the body loses control over their activity is a fundamental question in immunology. Finding the causes of lupus, the prototype for autoimmune disease research, could have broad implications across a wide range of illnesses affecting millions.

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