2018 LRA Lupus Insight Prize Recipient Receives $15 M Grant from NIH to Study Lupus Effects on the Brain

July 27, 2020

The Lupus Research Alliance congratulates 2018 Lupus Insight Prize recipient Betty Diamond, MD and the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research on being awarded $15 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to study brain dysfunction linked to lupus.

Dr. Diamond will use the five-year grant to study a receptor found in nerve cells that help control memory function, and its effect on brain dysfunction in adults and the development of the brain in fetus’ with lupus.

“We have researched NPSLE for 20 years, and that research shows that antibodies may create a chronic inflammatory state in the brain of adults and cause permanent cognitive impairment in their children who are exposed to these antibodies in pregnancy,” said Dr. Diamond in a statement from the Feinstein Institutes. “With the NIH’s support, we will study if common medications could protect against these negative effects of lupus.”

As Dr. Diamond notes, she has been studying neuropsychiatric lupus for decades, and the Lupus Research Alliance is proud to have supported some of her early work in this area.  More recently, the organization presented Dr. Diamond with our Lupus Insight Prize to recognize Dr. Diamond’s landmark discoveries.  In addition, Dr. Diamond co-leads with her colleague Dr. Meggan Mackay a clinical trial through the LRA’s clinical trial arm Lupus Therapeutics to test whether common treatments for high blood pressure, ACE inhibitors, can prevent brain cell damage in people with lupus that leads to problems with concentration and memory.

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