University of Minnesota Medical School Leads Cutting-Edge Research, Thanks to $1.2M Donation

MINNEAPOLIS, MN- November 12, 2018- The University of Minnesota Medical School’s Center for Autoimmune Diseases Research (CADRe) and Division of Rheumatic and Autoimmune Diseases has received a $1.2 million endowment that will help ensure the ongoing funding of leading-edge autoimmune research.

“I am excited for what this endowment can mean for systemic lupus research at this institution,” said University of Minnesota Health Rheumatologist Daniel Mueller, MD, director of the Division of Rheumatic and Autoimmune Diseases at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

An estimated 1.5 million Americans have some form of lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system turns against parts of the body it’s designed to protect. Lupus can be difficult to diagnose, and symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening in severity.

The development of CADRe in 2017 was led by faculty in the Division of Rheumatic and Autoimmune Diseases who saw a need for a center in which investigators could come together to discuss their immune system research and address the needs of patients who had all different forms of autoimmune disease. Traditionally, each disease and problem is studied in separate areas of the Medical School and treated through University of Minnesota Health, but CADRe intends to break down the barriers to interaction and help researchers understand the common threads that connect these illnesses.

The involvement of top immunology investigators at the University of Minnesota creates an opportunity to study a lot of different immunity-related problems. Devoting additional financial resources to a specific area of autoimmune disease enables a keener focus and commitment to the research.

“Systemic lupus is certainly one of the autoimmune diseases we continue to be interested in. Having the support of an endowment adds a new piece to our resources here at the University of Minnesota,” said Mueller.

Lupus Link Minnesota, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing knowledge and mobilizing resources to improve the lives of those affected by lupus and related autoimmune diseases, is transferring this endowment to CADRe. The endowment is a transfer of the Susan B. Meckstroth Endowment, created nearly 30 years ago by the B. John Barry family, and named in honor of B. John Barry’s sister, who passed away in 1986 at the age of 47 from lupus. It was created with a mission of funding research aimed at curing lupus. The transfer of this endowment represents a new era of opportunity and hope for autoimmune research in Minnesota.

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