Bringing Down the Barriers

Lupus Foundation of America’s National Research Program: Bringing Down the Barriers™


State of Lupus Research

It is clear that we know more about lupus than we did 10 years ago. Advances in lupus research have provided us with a better understanding of the possible underlying causes of the disease and its progression, and have provided unprecedented opportunities to expand greatly our knowledge base on lupus.

Doors are opening to new approaches for improved treatment and care. We are in a position to answer many of the questions about lupus that scientists have been asking for decades. With new scientific findings, additional pathways have been identified for further study. However, without an expansion of public and private support for medical research on lupus, many of these opportunities will be lost and further progress delayed.

As the world’s oldest and largest national organization dedicated to lupus, the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) is working to:

  • Accelerate the pace of lupus research.
  • Broaden the public and private sector investment in lupus research.
  • Elevate lupus to a more prominent place on the nation’s health care agenda.


Advancing the Science and Medicine of Lupus

The LFA is dedicated to identifying and overcoming barriers that have stood in the way of advancing the science and medicine of lupus.

Our National Board of Directors and Medical-Scientific Advisory Council are pursuing an aggressive agenda to find answers to the most difficult questions that have challenged lupus researchers for decades. Together with our national network of LFA chapters, field offices, support groups and community representatives, we are working to improve the quality of life for people with lupus, and to find a cure for the disease.

Through our National Research Program: Bringing Down the Barriers, we are advancing lupus research in three ways:

  1. Direct funding to researchers at medical institutions nationwide to address gaps in understanding the causes, progression, and consequences of lupus.
  2. Leading special research initiatives and forging collaborative efforts among stakeholders to address critical issues in the field of lupus.
  3. Advocating for expanded investment in research from public and private sources at the state and federal level.


Funding Researchers

Our research program tackles the key scientific challenges identified by our panel of international lupus experts. The program:

  • employs a rigorous, peer-review system to allocate dollars where they will be most effective, and
  • supports promising areas of research that have not received adequate attention or funding.

When the LFA was founded in 1977, we recognized the need for more researchers to study lupus. We subsequently established a fellowship program to foster interest among young investigators in lupus research.

Within recent years, we have seen many lupus scientific breakthroughs result from the LFA’s early grant awards. LFA-funded research grants provided seed money to researchers who first identified emerging and innovative scientific opportunities. These grants enabled the researchers to leverage their work to secure substantially more funding through other sources, further expanding important areas of scientific investigation.

The LFA focuses on promising areas of lupus research where there is a gap in understanding or where there has been insufficient funding:

  • Adult stem cell transplantation
  • Biomarkers
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Compliance and adherence
  • Diagnostic criteria
  • Environmental triggers
  • Epidemiology
  • Male lupus
  • Mid-to-late stage translational research
  • Nephritis
  • Neuropsychiatric lupus
  • Pediatric lupus
  • Pregnancy and reproduction
  • Quality of life
  • Skin


Leading Special Research Initiatives

The LFA collaborates with key stakeholders on special research initiatives that shed new light on the drug research and development process. Most recently we have:

  • Commissioned a national report that identifies barriers to lupus drug development and outlines strategies to overcome them.
  • Established and published an international consensus definition of lupus flares to set new standards to measure changes in lupus disease activity.
  • Collaborated with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to identify and validate clinical disease markers.
  • Developed a Web-based training program for clinical investigators, on using diagnostic tools to improve clinical trial outcomes.
  • Established a consortium to analyze data from past clinical trials and improve future trial design.


Advocating for Expanded Investment in Research

The LFA is the leading and authoritative voice for those living with lupus. Our advocacy efforts have:

  • Stimulated millions of new dollars for medical research on lupus through federal and state government agencies.
  • Supported greatly increased private investment in research and development of new treatments from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
  • Stimulated new federal sources of funding for lupus awareness and education programs.

These efforts have complemented our own multi-million dollar research commitments. Through our advocacy initiatives, the LFA more than doubles the benefit for its donors.


Support the Next Breakthrough

Your generous contribution enables us to continue our work to improve the quality of life of people living with lupus and search for the next lupus breakthrough. Help the LFA advance the science and medicine of lupus, improve treatment, and find a cure.

Please contact us at 866-517-5070 or email us if you would like more information on LFA’s national research program.