Crucial Lupus Research Funding Passed in Continuing Resolution

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 General News
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NEW YORK, Oct. 1 The Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) commends the United States Congress and President Bush on the passage of the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2009 (H.R. 2638).

The continuing resolution will fund the federal government through March 6, 2009 and appropriates $50 million in Department of Defense (DOD) funding to the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP). Lupus research funding through this program is an important legislative priority for the ALR. Long-time champion of lupus research Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) played a crucial role in safeguarding lupus as one of only nineteen diseases listed as eligible for PRMRP funding for FY09.

"Department of Defense funding plays an essential role in the advancement of scientific medical research to find new treatments and a cure for lupus, for which the frequency of diagnosis is rapidly increasing among military personnel and families," says ALR President, Barbara Boyts. "We are grateful that Congress recognizes the significant need for scientific medical research and has continued to work with us to keep lupus a listed disease eligible for DOD PRMRP funding. Since 2005, DOD has awarded lupus researchers $5.1 million. Retaining this source of funding allows more researchers to persevere in this important work," she continues.

Lupus is a debilitating and too often fatal autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the body's own cells, tissues and organs -- affecting the joints, heart, kidneys, skin, lungs and brain. Lupus is difficult to diagnose and there is no known cure. It is estimated that over 1.4 million Americans are living with lupus. Although there are many men and children with lupus, 9 out of 10 diagnosed are women. Lupus is especially prevalent among women of African American, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander and Native American descent.

The ALR is the largest private source for lupus research funding, committing over $50 million for lupus-specific research since its founding by Chairman Robert Wood Johnson IV in 1999. The ALR's main legislative priority is to increase federal funding for lupus research to maximize the scientific opportunities to find new treatments, ways to prevent the disease, and ultimately find a cure. In 2004, the ALR initiated and organized the effort to include lupus as one of the listed diseases eligible for funding through DOD FY05 appropriations. Since then, the ALR has successfully kept lupus listed every fiscal year. Of the five lupus research projects awarded by the PRMRP, three of these projects were awarded based on proposal data from research supported by previous ALR funding.

Each year volunteer advocates from across the country gather for ALR's National Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. to support ALR's legislative initiatives. In 2008, ALR advocates visited over 100 Members of Congress to advocate for federal funding for lupus research through the Department of Defense Peer Review programs.

The Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) is a national voluntary health organization based in New York City and founded in 1999. Chaired by Robert Wood Johnson IV, it has become the world's largest private source of lupus research funds and has committed $50 million to lupus-specific research projects since its inception. The organization's mission is to find better treatments and ultimately prevent and cure lupus by supporting medical research. Because the ALR's Board of Directors pays for all administrative and fundraising costs, 100% of all donations go directly to support lupus research programs. For more information, visit

For the Alliance for Lupus Research

Contact: Sam Rogers, 646.522.1902, or

SOURCE Alliance for Lupus Research

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