Within Our Reach: Finding a Cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Why RA?

Rheumatoid arthritis—long feared as one of the most disabling types of arthritis—has historically been a primary focus of rheumatologic research. The past 25 years has shown dramatic advances in genetics, proteomics, pharmacology and genomics which have led to the development of new therapies that provide relief to only part of the population suffering from RA—thousands still suffer.

Despite these improvements and the number of people affected, RA is still an incurable disease and receives disproportionately less research funding from federal sources for investigator-driven research than most other autoimmune diseases.

With a bold vision to capitalize on knowledge gained from recent advances, the ACR Research and Education Foundation convened a group of the world's leading and renowned rheumatologists, and representatives from the National Institutes of Health and Arthritis Foundation for a Scientific Forum to determine key elements in the field of RA research that would generate the most impact. The central conclusion that emerged is that current opportunities now make a cure for RA an achievable goal if we have the resources to accelerate innovative research.

Based on this conclusion, the REF launched Within Our Reach: Finding a Cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis fundraising campaign and an extensive research grant program comparable to the National Institutes of Health’s major grant funding programs.

Through a rigorous grant application and peer-review process, the REF identifies the scientists and doctors who are most prepared and motivated to work on finding the cure for RA and awards major funds through the Within Our Reach campaign to those deserving researchers at major universities and medical institutions throughout the United States.


At least one recently discovered gene indicates a predisposition to rheumatic diseases, but additional research is urgently needed to develop screening protocols for RA. Other research areas offering high potential include isolating environmental factors such as smoking which may contribute to RA.






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