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Three Lupus Investigators Recognized for Valuable Contributions in Research and Treatment


November 18, 2014 - BOSTON, MA

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - November 17, 2014) - Three researchers studying lupus were honored for their work, which has helped identify new therapeutic targets and provide insights into the causes of organ damage and pregnancy loss. The Lupus Foundation of America presented prestigious career recognition awards to Dr. George C. Tsokos of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Dr. Jane E. Salmon of Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City and Dr. Eliza F. Chakravarty of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma City. 

Dr. Tsokos and Dr. Salmon received the Evelyn V. Hess Research Award, which honors an investigator whose work has significantly advanced understanding of the causes and management of lupus. Dr. Chakravarty received the Mary Betty Stevens Young Investigator Prize, which recognizes exceptional achievements by an investigator in the early part of his or her lupus research career. 

"These investigators have made valuable contributions to advancing the science and medicine of lupus," said Dr. Gary Gilkeson, Professor of Medicine/Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina who also chairs the Lupus Foundation of America's Medical-Scientific Advisory Council. "Their studies in lupus are helping to unravel the mysteries of this devastating disease, and their work reflects the high standards of expertise and professionalism emulated by the two individuals for whom these awards are named."

Dr. Evenly V. Hess is an internationally known expert in lupus, with a special interest in the environmental aspects of the disease. She is highly respected among her peers in immunology and rheumatology, and for her work in collaboration with lupus researchers throughout the world. Dr. Mary Betty Stevens was a pioneering clinician and researcher who chaired the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center rheumatology division and developed the Hopkins-Good Samaritan Rheumatic Disease Unit, which became renowned for clinical research on lupus and vasculitis.

"It is important that we recognize the valuable contributions these investigators are making to advances in lupus," said Sandra C. Raymond, President & CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America. "Their achievements highlight the benefits that come from investment in medical research. The federal government and private industry are the largest funders of research on lupus. Unfortunately, funding for medical research conducted at academic institutions is under considerable pressure at this time due to recently enacted federal budget cuts, which have had a serious impact on the momentum that was building for lupus research." 

The recipients received their awards in Boston on November 17 during a gathering of their professional peers, held in conjunction with the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting. More than 200 researchers involved in the study of lupus attended.

Dr. Tsokos is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School. His research interests focus on the underlying causes of lupus. His discoveries have defined the molecular and biochemical abnormalities in T-cells of people with lupus which have led to discovery of new therapeutic targets.

Dr. Salmon is the Collette Kean Research Professor at the Hospital for Special Surgery and professor of medicine and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Salmon's research focuses on the mechanisms of tissue injury in patients with lupus. Her studies discovered causes of pregnancy loss and organ damage in lupus, identified predictors of risk for lupus-related pregnancy complications, kidney inflammation (nephritis) and cardiovascular disease, and pioneered new targets to prevent these disorders.

Dr. Chakravarty is an associate member of the arthritis and clinical immunology research program at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. Her work has focused on the immunological response to pregnancy and to viral infection and vaccination. She has made important discoveries that have led to improved understanding of pregnancy outcomes among women with lupus.

More information about these awards and the Lupus Foundation of America's national research program is available online at lupus.org/research

About Lupus

Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with and a challenge to treat. Lupus is a cruel mystery because it is hidden from view and undefined, has a range of symptoms, strikes without warning, and has no known cause and no known cure. Its health effects can range from a skin rash to a heart attack. Lupus is debilitating and destructive and can be fatal, yet research on lupus remains underfunded relative to diseases of similar scope and devastation.

About the Lupus Foundation of America

The Lupus Foundation of America is the only national force devoted to solving the mystery of lupus, one of the world's cruelest, most unpredictable and devastating diseases, while giving caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. Through a comprehensive program of research, education, and advocacy, we lead the fight to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus. Learn more about the Lupus Foundation of America at lupus.org. For the latest news and updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Nicole Dueffert 
dueffert@lupus.org
202-349-1162

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