Dr. Granger to Celebrate 40 Years with the Arthritis National Research Foundation
2011-12-01 · By Editor
It’s been 40 years since Dr. Gale “Morrie” Granger first learned about the Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF). At the time, ANRF was a small foundation in Long Beach making small research grants in California only.
“I was a young faculty member at UCI,” says Granger, “and my research findings that did not agree with the current thinking of how the immune system caused cell and tissue damage. After the ANRF directors visited my lab and reviewed the results, they decided to support our then-controversial studies.”
Dr. Granger developed a new way of looking at how white blood cells cause tissue damage. Granger’s team discovered that white blood cells could release tissue destructive molecules, initially called lymphotoxins (LT) and later termed tumor necrosis factors (TNF). After initial support from ANRF, Dr. Granger continued to study and characterize LT and TNF. These studies led to the discovery that cells can produce materials that inhibit LT/TNF activity.
Then, in collaboration with the biotech company, Genentech, they characterized the inhibitor. It turned out to be a soluable form of the LT/TNF cell receptor. These studies led the way for the use of drugs that block LT/TNF to be developed into treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
Collectively, these drugs are termed “biologics.” Today’s most effective biologic treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders are anti-TNF drugs, such as Enbrel, Humira and Remicade. Without Dr. Granger’s discovery, none of these therapies would exist.
Dr. Granger was a Professor of Immunology at UC Irvine where he taught and conducted research for 40 years.
“When the Arthritis National Research Foundation called me about 20 years ago asking if I would serve on the Board of Directors and help with the grant review process, how could I say no!” said Dr. Granger.
Since then, he has been a driving force for ANRF, developing the Scientific Advisory Board and guiding the Foundation’s growth and programs so that today it is a respected national organization.
He made discoveries in the lab that resulted in new therapies for rheumatoid arthritis and changed the understanding of the immune system. Now forty years later, he gives back every day by helping ANRF fund cutting-edge arthritis research projects conducted by top young investigators.
“These young scientists are where I was 40 years ago,” said Dr. Granger. “And, they are the ones with the best chance of making the next breakthrough discovery for the millions of Americans with OA, RA and autoimmune diseases.”
About the Arthritis National Research Foundation
Since 1970, the Arthritis National Research Foundation, a tax deductible charity based in Long Beach, has supported outstanding young scientists who have become innovators and leaders in the field of rheumatic disease research, autoimmunity and inflammation. From the discovery of Tumor Necrosis Factor (the molecule that initiates inflammation in arthritis) to genes involved in lupus, their research accomplishments have made an impact.
The Arthritis National Research Foundation’s approach is to fund the next generation of researchers to encourage their continued commitment to research in arthritis and related diseases. These scientists, supported by Arthritis National Research Foundation funds, will lead the scientific community toward a deeper understanding of the genetics and molecular mechanisms of the immune system and autoimmune diseases. Support arthritis research with an online donation. 91 cents of every dollar donated is placed into research programs.
For more information visit: http://www.curearthritis.org.