The US Department of Defense has awarded $5 million to a program that supports key research studies on lupus and lupus biomarkers.

The Congressionally directed Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) has funded three new grants in 2007 from funds authorized by Congress last year. This in addition to two projects previously awarded from 2005 funds.

The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) has pioneered efforts to have lupus included as one of the specific disease areas eligible for research funding through the PRMRP because of lupus’ relevance to military personnel and their dependents. The efforts have opened a new source of funds to support research on lupus. 

A study overseen by Betty Diamond, MD, of the Feinstein Institute’s Center for Autoimmune Diseases in Manhasset, NY, is designed to help identify military personnel whose lupus may be exacerbated by estrogen and those whose disease is not responsive to estrogen. Stephen Tomlinson, PhD, of the Medical University of South Carolina, will study complement inhibitors as a new therapy for lupus. Retena Engler, MD, of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, will look at complement activation after exercise to see if it can be used as a biomarker for lupus that may be in remission.

Changing demographics of the military population have resulted in an increasing prevalence of lupus in military and Veterans Hospital Clinics.
For more information, visit the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program’s Web site.