Our Unique Approach

The LRI is different. Unlike other lupus funding organizations, it is solely dedicated to novel research in lupus.

It was founded in 2000 by people with this devastating illness and their families in collaboration with the country’s leading scientists. At the time, the outlook for lupus was relatively bleak, with little movement towards greater understanding of its cause or a potential cure. Decades had passed with no new treatments approved.

Why Novel Research?

The scientists advised the families to create a nimble organization that could unleash scientific creativity and challenge conventional thinking about this complicated and mysterious illness.

Their mandate: Let science lead the way to a cure.

From our first round of grants, we have supported hypothesis-driven basic and clinical research founded on sound deductive logic—but not necessarily backed by extensive preliminary data.

In place of safe and tried approaches to thinking about lupus, we encourage and reward

  • innovation
  • imagination—thinking outside the box
  • creativity from all disciplines—not just rheumatology
  • cross-disciplinary work that has potential for translating basic research discoveries into clinical treatments

Rigorous standards

Before we approve a grant and risk exploring new territory, we insist on approval from a highly rigorous peer review of top scientists.

Only sound science that meets rigorous criteria has a hope of getting funded. More on criteria for selection

As of 2008: Research in human tissue

Recognizing the need to test human tissue to ensure results relevant to humans with lupus, we started accepting applications for novel explorations of human lupus biology.  Now, 50% of LRI grants involve investigation of human tissue, blood or genetic material.

These innovative studies use human material to address the physiological, cellular, molecular and/or genetic basis of human lupus. Read more

Exchange Ideas at Forum for Discovery—the nation’s preeminent scientific conference on lupus

All LRI basic and clinical investigators working on their 3-year grant attend the LRI’s annual scientific conference to

  • present data and discoveries
  • build collaborations
  • cross-fertilize ideas and endeavors
  • advance cutting-edge science