Human Lupus Biology

Innovative research in human tissue to drive discovery of new therapies

Science is ready. Answers are needed. People will benefit.

In 2008, the LRI invited scientists with innovative ideas about what goes wrong in human lupus and ways to fix it to apply for grant funding to mount novel investigations in Human Lupus Biology.  Now, 50% of LRI grants involve investigation of human tissue, blood or genetic material. 

Novel research conducted directly in human tissue will extend the horizons of lupus research and advance the development of more effective and less toxic treatments for people who suffer with this complex and difficult illness.

What makes this possible? Rapid discovery and technological advances.

Fast-paced scientific discovery in lupus is producing a multitude of insights into the mechanisms at play in animal models of the lupus immune system gone awry.

Now the relevance of these findings needs to be established in human disease.

“What works in the mouse with lupus just doesn’t always work in the person with lupus—including what may first appear to be promising drug treatments. We are therefore enthusiastic about supporting research in patients.”

– Michel Nussenzweig, MD, PhD at the Rockefeller University in New York, and a member of the LRI’s Scientific Advisory Board and Novel Research Task Force.

Today the technology exists to take important animal model findings to the next level and open windows of discovery in human lupus—a critical step to developing successful new therapies. Often, only a small amount of human material is needed to supply key information.

“The real need in lupus research is creative work in human lupus biology. This is one of the most important areas to pursue. And now, for the first time, we have the tools to ask incisive questions and make new insights directly in the human lupus immune system.”

– Peter E. Lipsky, MD, chief of the Autoimmunity Branch of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

Powerful pooling of talent and technology

Because the most productive research in human lupus requires basic scientists with cutting edge ideas and experimental techniques, clinicians with access to large patient cohorts, plus key technology components, the LRI will consider consortia applications for this Human Lupus Biology initiative.

Up to three investigators at one or more institutions can now request up to $900,000 over three years to pursue novel human lupus studies. Consortia represent the ability to generate diverse skilled groups—our best scientists and best clinicians regardless of institutional affiliation—coming together to move the field forward.