How We Get Closer to a Cure

ANRF funds grants to early career scientists at a time when their ideas are ready for development into research, when support is critical and the unknown could be the path to treatments and cures that change millions of lives.


Arthritis Research Leads to Arthritis Cures

Since 1970, the ANRF has funded arthritis research to understand the causes, prevention and development of new treatments for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, juvenile arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. The sustainability of the organization is guided by the Board of Directors, the staff and a five-year strategic plan.


To provide initial research funding to brilliant, investigative scientists with new ideas to cure arthritis and related autoimmune diseases


Scientists Funded


Grants Awarded

Top 1%

of US Charities

Meet the Board of Directors

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, the ANRF Board of Directors provides leadership supervision and provides oversight to the organization, assuring financial accountability, policy compliance and assurance strategy is set and goals are met. The ANRF’s Board of Directors is comprised of professionals with different backgrounds and expertise, all who are passionate about the impact of arthritis research.


Arthritis National Research Foundation History

Incorporated as CA nonprofit to fund arthritis research

The organization was initiated by a group of doctors to fund research in arthritis worldwide. The initial funding was small, but was used to fund individual scientists studying arthritis.

Community Board of Directors established to guide the Foundation and ANRF received 501(c)(3) status

During this time, the community board of directors guided the ANRF to its current focus of funding young M.D. and/or Ph.D. investigators transitioning to independence. Initially, the foundation funded a grant for Long Beach (CA) Memorial Medical Center to establish an Arthritis Center and purchase an electron microscope.

Research grants were made annually to scientists at institutions in California only; applications were reviewed by independent scientist-experts.

Granger lab funded at UC Irvine led to discovery of TNF

This is a groundbreaking discovery in the world of autoimmune research and ANRF's history. The research of Gale Granger, Ph.D., who was funded by ANRF, led to a new class of medications, known today as biologics. His work would also transform the way the foundation funded research.

The focus shifted to funding emerging investigators with cutting-edge ideas. like those like Dr. Granger—asking the right questions to find innovative solutions and results that would improve the lives of those living with arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. This new approach to funding research remains the blueprint for how the foundation continues to fund research.

Going Regional

From 1982 through 1996, a total of 15 scientists were awarded grants from $30-50,000 at research institutions in California. All have gone on to become giants in the field of medical research, making pivotal discoveries and chairing university research divisions as full professors.

One grantee funded during this period, Betty Tsao, Ph.D., a researcher at UCLA, was the first to discover the lupus susceptibility gene. Grantee John Vaughan, M.D., helped found ANRF's Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and served as its first chairman. In addition to this role, he simultaneously led the American College of Rheumatology. Two other grantees funded during this period have served on the Scientific Advisory Board and are recognized as experts in their fields of stud

Begin to fund research grants outside California and Scientific Advisory Board established

In 1996, the Arthritis National Research Foundation Board of Directors decided to increase arthritis research funding nationwide and hired an executive director to facilitate the expansion. The maximum grant level was $50,000; two grants were awarded in 1996-97, increasing to four by 1998-99.

With the guidance of former grantee, Dr. Granger, a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of world-renowned physician-scientists was established to review applications and guide the grant selection process. This SAB established a high level of credibility in the rheumatology and overall medical field, with many original members continuing to serve on the ANRF Board of Directors well into, and beyond, their careers. 

Expansion of arthritis research funding

During this period, the Arthritis National Research Foundation expanded its influence funding an increasing number of grant recipients and, in 2008, raising the annual grant award available to $75,000. A total of 102 grants were awarded to scientists at research facilities across the U.S. during this period. Under a new policy established in 2003, grantees were able to apply for a second year of funding.

Research Highlights

Shigeru Miyaki, Ph.D. at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, discovers natural molecule that regulates the growth of cartilage

Nunzio Bottini, M.D. at La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology and Massimo Bottini, Ph.D. at Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute, both in San Diego, used nanotechnology to develop focused targets for arthritis drug delivery

Chuanju Liu, Ph.D., of New York University, discovers a growth factor in the osteoarthritis joint that, if blocked, may prevent or ameliorate joint inflammation and damage.

Independent Scientific Review Panel finds the Arthritis National Research Foundation “Outstanding in Research”

An independent panel of world-renowned arthritis researchers conducted a study of the foundation’s methods and results, pronouncing it “outstanding” and its overall performance the highest possible rating of 5 diamonds.

Advancing arthritis research into the future

In response to rising costs in the field of biomedical research and suggestion from the independent review report, the Arthritis National Research Foundation increased its annual arthritis research grant awards to $100,000.

To continue expanding the influence and effectiveness of research funding, the foundation is collaborating with other medical research nonprofits for specific arthritis research grants.

Through web-based interviews of current and past grant recipients and strategic partnerships, interested individuals learn about the latest research from the scientists doing the work.

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