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Congressional Appropriations Report Calls For Wider Range of Lupus Research at the National Institutes of Health

New York, NY, September 28, 2004 – The Lupus Research Institute (LRI) and its National Coalition of state and local patient advocates have achieved a significant breakthrough in federal government support for lupus research.

Following meetings with Congressman C. W. Bill Young, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and Congressman Ralph Regula, Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Humans Services, Education & Related Agencies, the LRI’s proposed initiative to develop a five-year research plan for lupus across multiple institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is now incorporated into the Fiscal Year 2005 House Appropriations Subcommittee Report.

According to the Report, “lupus, a disabling and life-threatening autoimmune disease, causes the immune system to attack the body’s own cells and organs, including the kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, blood and skin…Because lupus is a multi-faceted disease, the Committee encourages the (NIH) Director to ensure that all relevant institutes work closely and collaboratively to maximize the output of our national investment in lupus research.”

Collaboration across multiple NIH institutes is necessary to tackle the core problem of heterogeneity in lupus, according to the LRI. “The systemic, multi-faceted nature of lupus delays diagnoses, confounds clinical studies and stymies scientific progress,” said Margaret G. Dowd, President of the LRI. “A coordinated, multi-disciplinary plan for lupus research at the NIH is an unprecedented opportunity to turn the core problem into the solution for research progress at the national level.”

Among the institutes called to be involved in the research plan are the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

“We applaud the efforts of Chairman Young and Chairman Regula and members of the committees who listened and supported the LRI’s request for a trans-NIH research initiative,” said Hugh O. McDevitt, MD, a Member of the LRI Scientific Advisory Board.  Dr. McDevitt is Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine.

The Lupus Research Institute (LRI) is the national organization uniquely dedicated to novel research in lupus. Recognizing that most major medical breakthroughs come fromunexpected directions, the LRI fosters and supports only the highest ranked new science to prevent, treat and cure lupus. The Lupus Research Institute National Coalition is the advocacy network of state and local lupus organizations united to promote increased education and awareness of the seriousness of lupus and the need for increased research.

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