U.S. Researchers Invited to Apply for Ann Theodore Foundation Grants

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by Somi Igbene |

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A new grant program worth up to $3.5 million, from the Ann Theodore Foundation, is seeking researchers in the U.S. who are working to advance knowledge and understanding of sarcoidosis.

The Milken Institute, a nonprofit think tank, is accepting applications from American research institutions for the Ann Theodore Foundation Breakthrough Sarcoidosis Initiative.

The initiative, developed in partnership with the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy, aims to award six grants of up to $575,000 each, to two-year research projects focusing on the genetic, molecular, and immune aspects of sarcoidosis.

Applicants must be doctorate-level investigators at qualifying research-based institutions in the U.S. Funded investigators may apply for a third year of grant monies.

The deadline for applications — for full proposals — is Jan. 10, 2022, and recipients will be announced in spring of next year. An optional letter of intent also may be sent by Nov. 10, 2021.

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“As someone who has lived with sarcoidosis for her entire adult life, I feel encouraged and excited about this new initiative from the Ann Theodore Foundation,” Carol Lafond, a foundation advisor, said in a Milken press release, adding that “improved treatment options for sarcoidosis patients need to begin with more and better research.”

This initiative “represents an important step forward for the medical community that gives hope to millions of individuals like me who have suffered in silence for far too long,” Lafond added.

Sarcoidosis is characterized by the formation of granulomas — small clumps of inflammatory cells — in different tissues and organs. Granulomas can become calcified or bone-like, causing irreversible damage. Current therapies for sarcoidosis are variably effective, with some causing severe side effects. If left unmanaged, sarcoidosis can cause severe organ damage or death.

According to a guide released by the Milken Institute alongside the grant program, sarcoidosis affects about 0.06% of the U.S. population, primarily African American women. The American Lung Association estimates that there are fewer than 200,000 cases in the U.S.

But the condition is likely more common than estimated, advocates say, mainly because medical professionals often have a poor understanding of it, leading to misdiagnosis and underdiagnosis.

“Its underdiagnosis causes hardship for people all around the world every year,” said Melissa Stevens, executive director of the Centre for Strategic Philanthropy. “It’s vital to find the researchers who can make progress toward this condition and support their work to ensure those living with sarcoidosis have a fighting chance.”

Besides those working in sarcoidosis, the Milken Institute encourages applications from research institutions working on autoimmune diseases, infectious conditions, inflammatory conditions, and other fields.

All research projects must be led by a principal investigator who holds a PhD, MD, or related research doctorate degree. The principal investigator must be an independent investigator.

Institutions may submit more than one proposal, but a different principal investigator must lead each proposal.

For more information about the grant program with detailed eligibility requirements and application process, email [email protected].

The Ann Theodore Foundation is committed to providing funding for children and families that supports them in achieving their goals, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. The foundation says it has given almost $15 million in grants and scholarships across the U.S.

The Milken Institute Centre for Strategic Philanthropy advises philanthropists and foundations seeking to develop and implement transformative giving strategies.