Dr. Linda Myers Receives $1.67 Million Grant for Rheumatoid Arthritis Research

Dr. Linda Myers C
Dr. Linda Myers hopes her work will lead to the development of new therapies for autoimmune arthritis

Linda Myers, MD, of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) has received a grant totaling $1.67 million for research into autoimmune arthritis. Dr. Myers, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics in the UTHSC College of Medicine, hopes her work will lead to the development of new therapeutic approaches.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disorder of unknown origin, but characterized by autoimmunity. There currently is no cure for the condition, and the therapies available have significant side effects. Dr. Myers and her research team are interested in targeting natural molecules to develop therapies for treatment of RA that are safer and have fewer side effects.

“In this application, we present a method for suppressing autoimmune arthritis by upregulating and activating natural inhibitory receptors called leukocyte associated immunoglobulin-like receptors (LAIR),” said Dr. Myers. “We believe that activating LAIR-1 receptors may lead to reduced autoimmune activity and less-severe disease in patients with RA. We have further validated that vitamin D increases when these receptors are activated, successfully reducing autoimmune arthritis.”

Her project is titled, “Inhibitory Receptors and Autoimmune Arthritis.” The funding is from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, and will be distributed over five years.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases is dedicated to research and spreading knowledge about the causes, treatment and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases. For more information, visit www.niams.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers, and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.