Press Releases for 2014


Embargoed for release:
Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 12 p.m. EDT

Contact: Trish Reynolds
Colleen Labbe
(301) 496-8190


NIH announces network to accelerate medicines for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus

Partnership includes support from industry and non-profits

The National Institutes of Health has awarded grants to 11 research groups across the United States to establish the Accelerating Medicines Partnership in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus (AMP RA/Lupus) Network. Launched in February of this year, the NIH AMP Program is a public-private partnership developed to transform the current model for identifying and validating the most promising biological targets for the development of new drugs and diagnostics. Through a competitive process, the AMP RA/Lupus Network Leadership Center and Research Sites were selected, and $6 million of first-year funding was awarded on Sept. 24, 2014. The network will implement the goals of the broader AMP RA/Lupus Program.

"These awards represent the first phase of an unprecedented approach to identify pathways that are critical to disease progression in rheumatoid arthritis and lupus," said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "Insights gained from this effort hold the promise of enhancing quality of life for patients and family members affected by these and other devastating autoimmune diseases."

RA and lupus are relatively common, severe autoimmune diseases. These disorders share similar flaws in immune function and regulation, leading to inflammation that damages tissues. RA and lupus can last a lifetime, cause severe disability, greatly affect quality of life, and are associated with increased risk of early death.

"To date, treatments for RA and lupus have been aimed at decreasing inflammation and pain," said Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., director of the NIHs National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). "For the first time, we are bringing together multidisciplinary research teams to achieve a broad, systems-level understanding of these diseases, setting the stage for the development of more effective diagnostic and treatment approaches."

Over five years, the AMP RA/Lupus Network will analyze the interplay among biological pathways, including at the single cell level, in tissues of patients with RA and lupus. The goal is to integrate data from multiple genome-wide analytic approaches to generate a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms of tissue damage in RA and lupus.

"This program promises to lead to more diagnosis and treatment options for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus," said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the NIHs National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). "We also anticipate that the flexibility of the program will enable investigators to advance research on related diseases, thus improving our overall understanding of autoimmunity."

Funding is provided by NIAMS and NIAID, and the following members of the AMP: AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda, the Arthritis Foundation, the Lupus Foundation of America, the Lupus Research Institute/Alliance for Lupus Research, and the Rheumatology Research Foundation.

"A critical component of the AMP initiative is that NIH and industry partners have agreed to make the AMP data and analyses broadly available to the biomedical research community," said Maria C. Freire, Ph.D., president and executive director of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, which manages the AMP. "This pre-competitive model of sharing results, risks, and resources can dramatically accelerate drug development and lead to the modification of existing therapies for these challenging diseases."

The AMP RA/Lupus Network comprises:

The AMP RA/Lupus Network Leadership Center:

  • Paul J. Utz, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California and V. Michael Holers, University of Colorado, Denver

The AMP RA/Lupus Network Research Sites:

  • Jennifer H. Anolik, University of Rochester, New York
  • Michael B. Brenner and Soumya Raychaudhuri, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston
  • Jill P. Buyon, New York University School of Medicine, New York City; Chaim Putterman, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; and Thomas Tuschl, Rockefeller University, New York City
  • Vivian Bykerk, Lionel B. Ivashkiv, and Alessandra B. Pernis, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City; and Robert B. Darnell, New York Genome Center, New York City
  • Betty A. Diamond, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, New York and David Wofsy, University of California, San Francisco
  • Peter K. Gregersen, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, New York
  • V. Michael Holers, University of Colorado, Denver
  • Larry W. Moreland, University of Pittsburgh
  • Michelle A. Petri, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
  • William H. Robinson and Paul J. Utz, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California

For more information on the AMP RA/Lupus Network, visit:

To learn what others are saying about the AMP RA/Lupus Network, visit:

The mission of the NIAMS, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health, is to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases; the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research; and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. For more information about the NIAMS, call the information clearinghouse at (301) 495-4484 or (877) 22-NIAMS (free call) or visit the NIAMS website at

NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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