Lupus Research Alliance Awards US$3 Million to Develop Lupus Treatment Breakthrough

Monash University Professor Eric Morand, Head of the School of Clinical Sciences and founder of the Monash Lupus Clinic, has been a successful recipient of a US$3 Million Lupus Research Alliance Global Team Science Grant (GTSA).  One of only three grants awarded, the funding will enable the advancement of Professor Morand’s research in ancestry-specific lupus.

Identifying Ancestry-Specific Lupus Molecular Profiles that Could Uncover New Genetic Causes of SLE 

Corresponding investigator Professor Morand and his team will aim to identify the distinct molecular pathways and the underlying genetics driving ancestral-specific differences in lupus symptoms. In their studies of five different ancestral groups (Europeans, Afro-Caribbean, South and East Asians, and Indigenous Australians), the team will use the latest scientific technological approaches to identify the ancestry-specific genetic variations associated with specific molecular pathways that are linked to lupus symptoms. The researchers will use advanced computational analysis of their enormous trove of data to identify potential genes that drive SLE.

“Our project explores the high variation in SLE symptoms and disease severity observed among different ancestral groups. This research will generate a massive amount of data that we can use to identify potential genes that drive or promote SLE. We hope these findings will identify new targets for treating or preventing lupus,” said Professor Morand.

Dr. Morand’s team includes:

  • James Peters, M.D., UKRI Innovation Fellow at Health Data Research UK and Clinical Reader in Rheumatology, Imperial College London, United Kingdom
  • Timothy Vyse, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Medicine, King’s College London, United Kingdom
  • Emma Davenport, Ph.D., Group Leader, Functional Genomics, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, United Kingdom
  • Michael Inouye, Ph.D., Director of Research, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

About Lupus 

Lupus is a chronic, complex autoimmune disease in which the immune system the immune system, which is designed to protect against infection, creates antibodies that can attack any part of the body including the kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, blood, skin, and joints.

Lupus affects millions of people worldwide and more than 90 percent of people with lupus are women and most often strikes during the childbearing years.  It is particularly prevalent in Indigenous Australian, Asian and other non-European people, with a ten-year mortality of 10 per cent.

About the Lupus Research Alliance
The Lupus Research Alliance (LRA) is the largest non-governmental, non-profit funder of lupus research worldwide. The organisation aims to transform treatment by funding the most innovative lupus research, fostering diverse scientific talent, and driving discovery toward better diagnostics, improved treatments and ultimately a cure for lupus. Because the LRA board of directors funds all administrative and fundraising costs, 100 percent of all donations supports lupus research programs.

These highly prestigious awards are made possible by a generous grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Read the full story on the LRA website.

2022 LRA Global Team Science Award Announcement

About Monash University

Monash University is Australia’s largest university with more than 80,000 students. In the 60 years since its foundation, it has developed a reputation for world-leading high-impact research, quality teaching, and inspiring innovation.

With four campuses in Australia and a presence in Malaysia, China, India, Indonesia and Italy, it is one of the most internationalised Australian universities.

As a leading international medical research university with the largest medical faculty in Australia and integration with leading Australian teaching hospitals, we consistently rank in the top 50 universities worldwide for clinical, pre-clinical and health sciences.

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