April 21, 2008

Lupus Funding Available through Dept. of Defense Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program

Hey everyone ...

It's a completely soggy morning here in DC. It's raining like nobody's business. Before I jump into lupus news, I did want to give a special shout-out to the Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Washington Chapter, which hosted its Walk for Lupus Now walk this past Saturday.

The Walk went very well. The weather was perfect. There was a fantastic turnout. I don't think it was possible to have asked for a better day! I do also want to say "congrats" to my colleagues in that chapter -- Penny Fletcher, Elizabeth Muniot and Sarah Guy. You all did a phenomenal job!

Donations are still being accepted for the LFA, Greater Washington Chapter's Walk. You can make your donation here.

And now, to other lupus news.


Lupus Funding Available through Dept. of Defense Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program

The Department of Defense (DoD) has once again issued a Request for Proposals for medical research studies to be funded through the Congressionally Directed Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP). Through its advocacy initiatives that began in 2003, the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) pioneered efforts to have lupus and lupus biomarkers included as disease areas eligible for research funding through the PRMRP. The LFA made a persuasive case to DoD officials that described the relevance of lupus research to military personnel and their dependents. These efforts have opened a new source of much needed funds to support research on lupus.

The LFA is pleased that Congress has appropriated another $50 million in 2008 for the PRMRP, enabling funding of additional studies on lupus. Since including lupus and lupus biomarkers among the areas approved for funding, the PRMRP has awarded $5 million in new funding to support important studies. Last year, the PRMRP funded three new studies and two studies were funded in 2006.

According to the Department of Defense, the PRMRP was established in 1999 to provide support for military health-related research of clear scientific merit. Appropriations for the PRMRP from Fiscal Year (FY) 1999 through FY 2006 totaled $344.5 million.

The PRMRP program announcements reports that the vision of the FY08 program is “to find and fund the best medical research to protect, support, and advance the health and welfare of military personnel and all beneficiaries.” DoD officials seek “innovative ideas to foster new directions in basic science and translational research; novel product development leading to improved therapeutic or diagnostic tools, or improvements in clinical policies/guidelines; or clinical trials that address an immediate clinical need.

Funding for lupus research through the DoD and all other relevant federal agencies has been a long-recognized priority for LFA advocacy efforts. Due to the changing demographics of the military population, there is an ever-increasing prevalence of lupus in military and Veterans Hospital Clinics. The LFA recognized this emerging health issue and worked to have lupus included in the PRMRP to advance research on lupus, which ultimately will help military personnel and their families affected by lupus.

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