Lupus Trust to receive £85,000 funding from the Oddfellows

We visited the Lupus Trust research team, based at London’s Guy’s Hospital on Monday 28 Oct to present our first donation of £28,000.

The Oddfellows present a cheque for £28,000 to members of the Lupus Trust research team

The donation marks the beginning of a major three-year funding partnership, which will total £85,000. The money will be used to directly support the Trust’s research into understanding why the immune system in lupus patients becomes overactive, and how the processes may be reversed.

Lupus is described as a long-term auto-immune condition in which the body’s immune system malfunctions and attacks healthy tissue and organs. It is estimated that five million people globally have the condition.

The project will be led by Professors Jo Spencer and David D’Cruz and will specifically look into the mechanisms underlying the loss of B-cell tolerance in lupus. It sees a new researcher, PhD student Bekki Velounias, joining the team to further its progress.

Lupus Trust Research Team PhD student Bekki Velounias with the cheque

Representatives from the Oddfellows were taken on a tour of the Trust’s Louise Coote Lupus Unit and research lab to learn more about the charity, its research and meet the team they would be supporting. Guests included the Oddfellows’ CEO, Chairman and members with first-hand experience of lupus.

Oddfellows members take a tour of the Lupus Trust lab

Speaking about the project, David D’Cruz, Professor and Consultant Rheumatologist, said: “This is a vital and very exciting piece of research into lupus, so we are extremely grateful for the kind grant the Lupus Trust has received from the Oddfellows to fund the project for three years.

“The lupus research team at Guy’s Hospital recently identified very precisely an immune response pathway that is defective in patients with the most severe forms of lupus. This research may help to understand how the immune system is abnormal in lupus patients and why the abnormal antibodies arise. We now need to figure out how to reverse these processes and this may lead to new treatments.”

Jane Nelson, CEO of the Oddfellows, added: “Giving back is at the heart of our Society, so we’re delighted to discover how our donation can support the great work of the Trust, furthering research that could one day make a positive, tangible difference to so many lives.”

CEO Jane Nelson and Grand Master David Randall learn more about lupus cells

The Lupus Trust is the most recent Oddfellows HA Andrews Memorial Fund beneficiary. Established in 1971, the Fund provides financial support over a three-year period to a project or organisation involved in, or conducting medical research in the UK. So far £1,114,000 has been donated, with previous recipients being Alzheimer’s Society, the Stroke Association and the University of Bradford’s Plastic Surgery and Burns Research Unit.

The Lupus Trust research project was successfully nominated for funding in May 2019, after members from the Oddfellows’ Ware Branch, based in Essex, brought the Trust’s research needs to its attention.

The Oddfellows is one of the largest and oldest friendly societies in the UK, with 124 Branches across the UK. Its members come together to enjoy a wide variety of local social events and regularly fundraise for good causes both locally and nationwide.

To find out more about the many ways in which we give back to good causes across the UK, visit our Giving Back section, where you can discover more about the range and variety of projects we've supported over the years.