The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has awarded Cure JM and a consortium of Cure JM-funded researchers a coveted $2 million rare disease research grant to identify new biomarkers in JM and improve precise, personalized care through the identification of cell-to-cell interactions that drive inflammation in juvenile myositis.
Principal investigators for the grant include Jessica Turnier, M.D., at the University of Michigan, Jessica Neely, M.D., at the University of California, San Francisco; and Andrew Heaton, Ph.D., the Chief Scientific Officer at Cure JM. Other collaborators on the grant include Jeff Dvergsten, M.D. from Duke University, and Lauren Pachman, M.D. from Lurie Children’s Hospital. UCSF, Duke University, and Lurie Children’s Hospital serve as Cure JM Centers of Excellence.
This milestone achievement recognizes Cure JM’s 20-year commitment as a patient advocacy and juvenile myositis research leader. The grant was obtained during an open international competition that included some of science’s most notable researchers. The project was one of five globally awarded projects in the “single cell isolation” category, which focuses on better understanding the cause of rare diseases at the cellular level.
“The focus of this grant is understanding the role that cell types play in skin, muscle, and blood inflammation to identify new markers and better treatments for JM patients during all phases of the disease,” says Michigan’s Dr. Turnier, who serves as the principal coordinating investigator. “Once we better understand what happens at the cellular level, we may be able to target therapies to those very cells.”
“Cure JM’s role will be to foster collaboration across our Centers of Excellence and Clinical Care Network,” Dr. Heaton adds. “The evaluators were impressed with the breadth of our organization and the importance of engaging a significant number of JM families from diverse backgrounds in this project. We’re thrilled with Chan Zuckerberg’s confidence in Cure JM.”
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was created by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan to help solve some of society’s most daunting challenges, including the goal of curing, preventing, and managing all diseases by the end of the century through the combined power of philanthropy, technology, and world-class collaboration.