Up for Grabs: Nice Awards from Pfizer for Autoimmune Disease Research

You don’t have to look at Pfizer’s giving history for long before it dawns on you: These guys just aren’t that into giving away huge sums of money all at once. The foundation gives far and they give wide, covering diabetes, aging, patient care, AIDS, cancer, addiction, and more, but it doesn't give deep. Its 2013 giving history stretches on for 55 pages, yet most of the grants are made for $5,000 or less. When it does break out the big money, though, you take notice.

So, naturally, we were excited to see this RFP: an announcement of the availability of up to five research awards of up to $150,000 over two years, to be awarded in 2015. These are the ASPIRE Rheumatology and Dermatology research awards, and they’re designed to fund research that can further the understanding of autoimmune diseases like these, boosting patient care.

ASPIRE is targeting two autoimmune diseases in particular—one lined to rheumatology (rheumatoid arthritis) and one linked to dermatology (plague psoriasis)—and specifically, they’re interested in projects that include:

the use of biomarkers in the assessment and management of rheumatoid arthritis; use of imaging in the assessment and management of rheumatoid arthritis; co-morbid conditions in rheumatoid arthritis; approaches to help rheumatoid arthritis patients improve adherence to therapy; approaches to improving the management of rheumatoid arthritis; genomic research to improve understanding of the heterogeneity of plaque psoriasis; signaling pathways implicated in the pathogenesis of plaque psoriasis; factors that contribute to differences in physician and patient ratings of severity of plaque psoriasis; approaches to improving adherence to therapy in plaque psoriasis patients; co-morbid conditions in plaque psoriasis; and approaches to improving the management of plaque psoriasis.

Got all that? It's a lot, I know, but this is a complicated fight against two diseases that can be totally debilitating, and unlike some other autoimmune diseases with known triggers, like stress, or environmental exposures, no one really knows what brings on rheumatoid arthritis or plaque psoriasis. There’s a lot of ground to gain, and a lot of good to be done by improving how these diseases are evaluated and treated. It’s estimated that nine million people in the U.S. are currently living with one or the other.

For complete program guidelines, an FAQ, and application instructions, visit the Aspire Awards website.