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News & Information


2016 Lupus Insight Prize Presented to Dr. Ann Marshak-Rothstein

Award funds promising research to improve treatment of skin disease in lupus

BOSTON, MA (June 23, 2016) – The 2016 Lupus Insight Prize was awarded today to Ann Marshak-Rothstein, PhD, University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center and Professor of Medicine/Rheumatology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, for a project with great promise to improve the treatment of lupus-related skin disease. The award was announced at FOCIS 2016, the 16th Annual Meeting of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS).

The Lupus Insight Prize is a collaborative initiative among the Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR), the Lupus Foundation of America and the Lupus Research Institute (LRI).  The $200,000 Prize recognizes a major, novel insight and/or discovery that has the promise to change scientific thinking about lupus as well as a high likelihood of generating further advances in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

“The collegial effort among the organizations involved in the Lupus Insight Prize demonstrates the focus of all involved in accelerating progress towards better treatments and ultimately, to finding a cure for lupus, “said Kenneth M. Farber, President of the Alliance for Lupus Research. “By working with these organizations and with leaders in the field of lupus research towards a common goal, we have the potential to more quickly improve the lives of those living with lupus.”

Unprecedented Project Aims to Improve Treatment of Cutaneous Lupus

Dr. Marshak-Rothstein has recently generated a mouse model with symptoms that mimic the lupus-related skin disease called cutaneous lupus. With the Lupus Insight Prize, she will be able to study the disease as never before, investigating the role of two specific Toll-like receptors, TLR9 and TLR7, on different types of cells.

Approximately two-thirds of people with lupus will develop some form of cutaneous lupus. It can cause rashes, hair loss and disfiguring sores (lesions), particularly on areas exposed to the sun such as the face, ears, neck, arms, and legs. These symptoms can greatly impact self-esteem and quality of life of people with lupus.  

“We congratulate Dr. Marshak-Rothstein on being awarded this year’s Lupus Insight Prize,” says Sandra C. Raymond, President and CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America.  “There is an urgent need to better understand the causes and progression of cutaneous lupus, as well as improved outcomes for people undergoing treatment. Dr. Marshak-Rothstein’s work provides a strong foundation from which further advances in understanding and treatment can be made.”

“Over her 30-year career, Dr. Marshak-Rothstein has made deep and substantial contributions to advance lupus research, providing critical insight into the science underlying autoimmunity,” noted Margaret G. Dowd, Lupus Research Institute President and CEO. “Specifically she pioneered novel research into proteins known as Toll-like receptors that typically allow the immune system to identify intruders like bacteria and viruses. Her cutting-edge work discovered that Toll-like receptors also recognize nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA from mammals, including humans - an important insight that furthers our understanding of how autoimmunity develops.”

“I am pleased to accept this year’s Lupus Insight Prize which enables my team to continue research aimed at understanding the role of specific innate immune receptors in the regulation of lupus pathogenesis and advancing more effective and less debilitating treatments for both cutaneous lupus and related rheumatologic diseases,” commented Ann Marshak-Rothstein, PhD, University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center and Professor of Medicine/Rheumatology, University of Massachusetts Medical School. “Looking at the disease symptoms in animal models, we will explore the role of the sun’s UV radiation, why the skin is attacked by the body’s immune system and evaluate potential new therapies.”

About Lupus

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and tissue damage to any organ system in the body.  The health effects of lupus include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, organ failure and possible death.  An estimated 1.5 million Americans and at least five million people worldwide have a form of lupus. 

For more information visit LupusInsightPrize.org.

For More Information about the Funding Organizations:

Alliance for Lupus Research

Lupus Foundation of America

Lupus Research Institute


FOCIS exists to improve human health through immunology by fostering interdisciplinary approaches to understand and treat immune-based diseases.


Media Contacts:
Courtney Love, Alliance for Lupus Research, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 212-218-2869

Lauren Topf, Lupus Foundation of America, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 301-424-8546

Margy Meislin, Lupus Research Institute, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 212-685-4118 x34

Adam Snow, Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 414-359-1670 ext. 1117

Source: ALR, LFA, LRI 



FOCIS Announces New Affiliation with Science Immunology

'Meet the Editor' Session Set for June 24 at FOCIS 2016 in Boston

FOCIS announced Monday an affiliation with Science Immunology, a new journal published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), set to debut in July. Download the press release (.pdf)


FOCIS Vice President, Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, has been named president and CEO of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

Renowned UCSF immunologist and FOCIS Vice President, Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, has been named president and CEO of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, a national initiative launched with a $250 million grant from The Parker Foundation


All Articles...


 FOCIS 2016 Sponsors



ePub header 2016

April 15, 2016
EDITOR: Andrew H. Lichtman, MD, PhD, Brigham & Women's Hospital  EDITORIAL BOARD: Abul K. Abbas, MD, University of California, San Francisco | Carla J. Greenbaum, MD, Benaroya Research Institute | Andrew H. Lichtman, MD, PhD, Brigham & Women's Hospital

Highlights from Recent Literature

circlearrow2 Have a Lethal Virus? There's a Cow for That

Research Paper:
Thomas Luke, et al. Human polyclonal immunoglobulin G from transchromosomic bovines inhibits MERS-CoV in vivo. Science Translational Medicine 8 (326), 326ra21. (2016). PMID: 26888429

The ability to treat rapidly emerging infectious diseases with pathogen specific antibodies is hampered by the difficulty in producing large amounts of antibodies in a timely fashion. Isolation of antibodies from convalescent serum in humans requires a large motivated pool of human donors. Monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies in animals have the potential for severe reactions arising from human immune responses against animal derived antibodies. Monoclonal humanized antibodies take a long time to develop and can result in the rapid development of escape mutants, something not observed with polyclonal antibodies. The authors describe a new approach to rapidly generating polyclonal human anti-pathogen antibodies using transgenic cows.


  Reviewed by Rachael A. Clark, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women's Hospital


Developments in Basic Immunology and Novel Therapies

circlearrow2 The Role of Bacteria and Bacterial-derived Metabolites in Intestinal Immune Homeostasis

The human intestine is home to trillions of highly diverse commensal bacteria, which exist in a symbiotic and mutualistic relationship with their host. Many key aspects of human health, including tolerance to the constituents of the microbiota itself, vitamin and nutrient absorption and the development of cells within the intestinal mucosa, are dependent on the presence of these beneficial microbes1. In addition, the microbiota also plays a vital role in protecting the host from invading pathogenic bacteria, via competition for substrate and niche, as well as through the production of antimicrobial compounds. Understanding how specific bacteria influence intestinal immunity is key for understanding the physiology of intestinal homeostasis, and also has the potential to define new treatments for intestinal diseases. 


  Submitted by Maria Fernando, and Megan K. Levings, PhD, University of British Columbia


Selected Recent Clinical Trial Results

circlearrow2 Efficacy and Safety of Dupilumab in Adults with Moderate-to-severe Atopic Dermatitis Inadequately Controlled by Topical Treatments: A Randomised, Placebo-Controlled, Dose-Ranging Phase 2B Trial 

Clinical Trial: Thaci D, Simpson E, Beck L, et al. Lancet 2016; 387:40-52

Disease: Atopic dermatitis

Intervention: Dupilumab or placebo. Dupilumab is a human monoclonal antibody directed against the interleukin (IL)-4 receptor alpha subunit that blocks signaling of both IL-4 and IL-13, Th2 cytokines.


  Submitted by Sandra Lord, MD, Benaroya Research Institute. Edited by Carla J. Greenbaum, MD, Benaroya Research Institute


Thank you to the 2013 FOCIS Corporate Council:

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