The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has received a $3.3 million grant to study rheumatic diseases.
The five-year grant, awarded by the National Institutes of Health, will allow scientists to build on current studies into joint and connective diseases and support and fund pilot projects.
“Rheumatic diseases, including lupus, arthritis and Sjogren's syndrome, severely diminish the quality and length of life in patients,” said Dr. Judith James, lead researcher on the project, in a news release.
“This grant allows us to expand our efforts to better understand these diseases and find new ways to fight them.”
The grant will support in part OMRF's new biorepository, a massive freezer complex which holds more than a million patient samples collected over 30 years at temperatures as low as minus 80 degrees Celsius. The biorepository has room for about 4 million more specimens.
Thanks to the grant, more patients and health control subjects likely will give samples and enroll in medical studies, according to the release. The money will help support a database of coded sample information linked to historical data. Investigators can use the samples to understand disease processes and seek new ways to identify people at highest risk of developing a rheumatic disease.