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 Arthritis National Research Foundation to its current focus of funding young MD and/or PhD 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 the history of the Arthritis National Research Foundation. Dr. Granger’s work would lead to a whole new class of medications, today known as biologics. His work would also transform the way the foundation looked at funding research.


The focus shifted and was now on emerging investigators with cutting-edge ideas. Scientists with ideas “outside-the-box” fitting the same mold as Dr. Granger. Asking new questions to find new answers and different results. This would remain the blueprint for how the foundation would 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 at UCLA during this period, Betty Tsao, PhD, was the first to discover the lupus susceptibility gene. Grantee John Vaughan, MD, helped found the Arthritis National Research Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board and would be its first chairman, in addition to heading 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 study.

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, Gale Granger, PhD, now an Arthritis National Research Foundation board member, a Scientific Advisory Board of world-renowned physician-scientists was established to review applications and guide the grant selection process. This Scientific Advisory Board gave the foundation a high level of credibility; many original members still serve on this board, an indication of their commitment to the Arthritis National Research Foundation’s mission.
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, PhD at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, discovers natural molecule that regulates the growth of cartilage

Nunzio Bottini, MD at La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology and Massimo Bottini, PhD at Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute, both in San Diego, CA, use nanotechnology to develop focused targets for arthritis drug delivery

Chuanju Liu, PhD, of New York University, discovers a growth factor in the OA 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. Click here to see the review.

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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