Arthritis Foundation Awards Nearly $5.5 Million in Scientific Discovery Funding

February 3, 2016

ATLANTA (Feb. 3, 2016) – The Arthritis Foundation has announced that 11 scientists from across the United States and Canada were selected as the 2015 Scientific Discovery Awardees for their innovations toward finding a cure for arthritis and related diseases. The winners were selected from 167 proposals. This is the Arthritis Foundation’s first request for proposals (RFP) with revised eligibility criteria to include anyone who can provide bold, new ideas that accelerate the scientific discovery process toward a cure for the more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children in the U.S. living with arthritis.

Each of the Arthritis Foundation’s 2015 Delivering on Discovery RFP winners proposed a scientific approach showing promise to achieve a faster cure for one or more types of arthritis. A major differentiator in the 2015 selection process was that funded projects would demonstrate a clear interdisciplinary pathway to viability in the marketplace. Proposals had to be important to patients, include a strong translation plan and pass a rigorous scientific review.

“The Arthritis Foundation is focused on finding a cure and championing the fight against arthritis with life-changing science and support,” says Ann M. Palmer, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation. “Those with arthritis are depending on the Arthritis Foundation to foster a scientific discovery environment that thrives on innovative solutions. The 11 proposals that received awards will improve clinical decision making and health outcomes through the use of new products, tools and technologies.”

The awards range in amounts from $216,000 to $1.35 million, and include innovative proposals such as developing a new technology using a “smart nanosome” (an incredibly small packet that will enclose a drug) to directly target drugs to the damaged cartilage in a joint; a study on whether endotoxins contribute to knee osteoarthritis (OA) progression; and the use of next-generation ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequencing in order to create a diagnostic test for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and predict disease severity and response to therapies.

The awardees are:

Beeton, Christine    Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX    Targeting KCa1.1 channels in synoviocytes for the treatment of RA    $386,587- Project Duration 2016-2019
Cho, Hongsik    The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN    A Novel Method of Detecting and Treating in Early PTOA Using Smart Nanosome    $270,000 - Project Duration 2016-2018
Kraus, Virginia    Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC    The Role of Low-Grade Endotoxemia in Osteoarthritis    $411,062 - Project Duration 2016-2018
Kriegel, Martin    Yale University, New Haven, CT    Commensal Prokaryotic Ro60 Orthologs as Causal Triggers for Lupus    $344,581 - Project Duration 2016-2019
Lefebvre, Veronique    Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH    Quality-by-Design approach to create articular cartilage from pluripotency    $318,774 - Project Duration 2016
Martin, James    The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA    Engineering Endogenous Cartilage Repair    $961,381 - Project Duration 2016-2019
Sampen, Hee-Jeong Im    Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL    Dysregulation of Circadian Rhythm and Osteoarthritis    $500,000 - Project Duration 2016-2019
Stein, Michael    Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN    Extracellular small RNAs in rheumatoid arthritis - Delivering on Discovery    $1,350,000 - Project Duration 2016-2021
Sun, Hui    Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University    A novel formulation for OA prevention and treatment    $216,000 - Project Duration 2016-2018
Wimmer, Markus    Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL    Augmented Feedback Using Pressure Detecting Insoles to Reduce Knee Loading    $311,740 - Project Duration 2016-2018
Yeung, Rae    The Hospital for Sick Children; Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA)    Precision Decisions to STOP-JIA    $385,000 - Project Duration 2016

The Arthritis Foundation is now accepting proposals for 2016 scientific discovery awards through Feb. 22. Interested investigators should submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) for scientific projects that show promise to achieve a faster cure for arthritis and related diseases. More information can be found on the Web at

The Arthritis Foundation thanks the 2015 Scientific Discovery Advisory Committee (SDAC) for their advisement in the development and implementation of the 2015 Delivering on Discovery solicitation, as well as the development of the 2016 Delivering on Discovery solicitation.  The 2015 SDAC members are listed at the following link:

About the Arthritis Foundation:

The Arthritis Foundation is the Champion of Yes. Leading the fight for the arthritis community, the Foundation helps conquer everyday battles through life-changing information and resources, access to optimal care, advancements in science and community connections. The Arthritis Foundation’s goal is to chart a winning course, guiding families in developing personalized plans for living a full life – and making each day another stride towards a cure. The Foundation also publishes Arthritis Today, the award-winning magazine that reaches 4 million readers per issue.

Media Contact:

Rachel Wingard
Cookerly Public Relations
(404) 419-9229; [email protected]