Jan. 13, 2016

NIH Releases Plan to Expedite Lupus Treatments and Cures

From the National LFA:

Today, the Lupus Foundation of America (Foundation) applauds the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for releasing a new report, the Action Plan for Lupus Research. The research plan identifies and examines opportunities to increase scientific understanding of lupus, which will ultimately lead to safer and more effective treatments and, eventually, curative strategies.

In early 2015, we asked the Congressional Lupus Caucus to request an update to a 2007 report titled, The Future Directions of Lupus Research. The result is the new Action Plan for Lupus Research. Increased federal funding for the NIH is needed to meet the goals identified in this report.

“Current lupus research has placed us at a tipping point. Great progress could occur with increased and dedicated federal research funding efforts, strong partnerships across institutions and additional public and private partnerships,” said Gary S. Gilkeson, M.D., Professor of Medicine/Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina, and Chair of the Foundation’s Medical-Scientific Advisory Council (MSAC). “The Action Plan for Lupus Research will help to prioritize and increase progress in lupus research, allowing researchers to take full advantage of opportunities to increase understanding of lupus at the molecular level.”

A number of key themes and focus areas in lupus research came from recommendations submitted by our MSAC, including an emphasis on partnerships in epidemiology, highlighted in chapter one; validating lupus biomarkers – proteins, genes, and other markers found in the body that are useful for diagnosing the disease, measuring its activity, or measuring the effects of treatment – highlighted in chapter three; and health disparities, highlighted in chapter six.

The updated report reflects the current need and gap in lupus research for helping to improve upon a basic understanding of the disease and to identify targets for advancing lupus drug development.

The Action Plan for Lupus Research, as well as the recently released National Public Health Agenda for Lupus, will help guide the lupus community in its efforts to reduce the time to diagnosis, to develop programs and services that will benefit people with lupus, their caregivers and health care providers, and to develop new treatments and clinical trial models.

Join us in urging Congress to increase federal funding for the NIH, which is essential for meeting the goals identified in this report.