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Our Mission

The Wallace Rheumatic Diseases Foundation is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2012 with the purpose of helping promote research and education on the causes and treatments for rheumatic diseases. At least 90% of all money raised will be spent on specific areas of funding with a focus in the following areas:

  • We will identify a group of patients with autoimmune diseases who are uninsured or underinsured, providing them with access to foundation grants for medical care to include all office visits as well as laboratory testing. This will also include working with our pharmaceutical colleagues to provide them with access to expensive medication through their patient assistance programs and partially subsidizing it. Our specific goal is to identify 200 individuals every year in collaboration with nonprofit organizations.

  • We will provide funding for postgraduate training to rheumatology fellows who wish to become academic researchers or autoimmune subspecialists in our office and at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where Dr. Wallace is associate director of the rheumatology fellowship program.

  • We will identify worthy projects or initiatives (through attending meetings and networking), which are underfunded or unfunded, that Dr. Wallace feels will make a difference to every patient’s quality of life or finding the cause or treatment of autoimmune diseases. We will use our relationships with Lupus LA, the Lupus Research Alliance, Children’s Hospital, Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation, UCLA, Cedars-Sinai, Arthritis Foundation, Scleroderma Foundation, and Ankylosing Spondylitis Association to accomplish this and provide them with restricted grants.

  • We will bolster our foundation’s rheumatic research to improve the infrastructure and efficiency of our current projects. That way, more effort is spent on conducting clinical studies and optimizing outcomes.

Developments in Our Foundation

In May 2012, we received unsolicited donations and a bequest from grateful patients. That’s why we established the Wallace Rheumatic Diseases Foundation (tax ID number 45-5434561 and tax-exempt status granted). Since then, many exciting developments have taken place.

We would like to update you on the progress we have made in 2019:

  • The Foundation has provided over $50,000 of non-reimbursed medical care and support for supplies, medication and additional services (legal letters, transportation, etc.) to over 50 patients with autoimmune disorders. This amount has doubled in the last year and we will increase this commitment.
  • The Foundation has spent $75,000 to fulfill critical unmet needs for research projects, research, fellowship support and training to the rheumatology divisions of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, UCLA. The Foundation also supports the Arthritis Foundation, Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation and Scleroderma Foundation, Lupus LA and the Lupus Research Alliance. These nonprofits now make requests of the foundation to help fill niches that are critical to making meaningful breakthroughs. We are particularly committed to the future of autoimmune research in Southern California.
  • We are active collaborators with Attune Health Research and their efforts to study inflammatory muscle disease, synovial pathophysiology, and use Virtual Reality and Personalized Medicine to improve the delivery of outstanding rheumatology care.
  • We plan on instituting a Summer Student Research program to help mentor and train students who are in premedical fields at our office.
  • We have committed monies to fill infrastructure, education and training gaps to funded initiatives that are only partially underwritten.

Several developments have also taken place this year that warrant reconsideration and rethinking of our strategic goals:

  • Our center is very proud of the recognition we have received from prestigious government agencies. We are currently coinvestigators with three NIH grants (the mTOR pathway, mesenchymal stem cell infusions, and preventing pre-lupus with hydroxychloroquine) as well as one from the Department of Defense (milatuzumab).

  • The Wallace Rheumatic Studies Center is conducting 20 clinical research projects with 4 full-time coordinators and 2 Cedars-Sinai coordinators. They include clinical trials with eight novel agents, observational studies, biomarker studies, and autoimmune proteomic collaborations (with Silicon Valley and East Coast biotech startups to put together a ‘lupus chip’ that will give us all the information we will ever need to know about lupus patients). Since our center is a unique resource with 2,000 lupus, 500 rheumatoid arthritis, 200 Sjogren’s syndrome and spondyloarthropathy (including psoriatic arthritis) as well as 100 scleroderma and vasculitis patients who come every few months, requests for collaborations have overrun our capacity to take on new projects. We turn down three out of four clinical trial requests for participation and only accept those that are the most cutting edge.

  • In August, a newly minted rheumatologist, Christine Lee, M.D., joined the practice. We are an integral part of ATTUNE HEALTH with two outstanding rheumatologists (Doctors Venuturupalli and Scaramangas).

  • Dr. Wallace will be the recipient of the Innovation Award for Community Service of the Los Angeles County Medical Association for our community talks, outreach, and will be providing access to foundation grants for patients at the Los Angeles Healthcare Awards Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on November 1.

Dr. Wallace’s research team is at a crossroads, and our strategic goals will focus on the following:

  • Dr. Wallace will spend more of his time using his intuition to attract the best and most innovative work to our research center.

  • We will provide hundreds of autoimmune disease patients with access to foundation grants for medical care.

  • Our center will continue to be committed to providing precision and personalized care to all.

  • The foundation will work with other medical centers and nonprofit foundations where the need is greatest and where the project has the greatest probability of making a significant difference.

  • The foundation’s work cannot expand without your help. Only half of our current research income underwrites salaries and operating expenses. We rely on income from patient visits to do the rest.

  • If you are interested in supporting the activities of our foundation, please join us for a private reception at Bel Air Hotel on November 2, 6:30 PM. Our team will make a presentation and answer any questions you might have regarding our strategic goals.

A Message to Our Donors

We have made a lot of progress over the last six months, making 2018 a very productive year for the Wallace Rheumatic Diseases Foundation. Because of your generosity, the following developments have transpired:

  • Dr. Wallace was the recipient of the Jane Wyman Humanitarian Award by the Arthritis Foundation at the Dolby Theater.

  • Our study of baricitinib for lupus had positive results and has been awarded a plenary presentation at the European League Against Rheumatism in Amsterdam in June (less than 1% of 2,000 submissions receive this recognition).

  • $12,500 was awarded to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to specifically support the first use of inserting nerve regenerative technology into the spinal cord of autoimmune diseases of the nervous system (e.g., Lou Gehrig’s Disease) through the Regenerative Medicine initiative by J. Patrick Johnson, M.D. The first eight patients in the world have received this treatment at Cedars.

  • Grants between $2,000 and $10,000 have been awarded to the UCLA Division of Rheumatology (rheumatology mental health, Paulus conference fund), Lupus LA (some of which goes to fund a fellowship slot at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles), Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation, and the Arthritis Foundation, which will fulfill unmet needs and would not be funded otherwise. 

  • Our center has been chosen to be a center for the study of a drug known as NAC to treat lupus by the NIH and mesenchymal stem cells, which will start in a few months.

  • Dr. Wallace is the co-chairman of the Lupus Industry Council of the Lupus Research Alliance, and in that capacity, is an advocate of the LuMOS initiative, which will be the definitive measure for assessing lupus activity in clinical trials.

  • In May, Dr. Wallace and 350 delegates attended the International Sjogren’s Syndrome Society Congress in Washington, D.C. and gave the keynote speech on new clinical trials.

  • Dr. Victoria Werth at the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Wallace are co-chairing an effort by the Lupus Foundation of America to develop online classroom courses for lupus patients, which consist of 8 to 14 classes or sessions to promote education about the disease. These courses will be available nationally and internationally and will be offered to individuals with different levels of educational and socioeconomic attainment and cross-cultural validity.

  • So far, 20 ill autoimmune patients have been selected by our foundation to receive access to foundation grants for medical care, medicine, and lab services for their diseases. We hope to approve another 20 in the next few months.
  • We have been given the Phase I study grant by Pfizer to look into a promising chemokine for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

  • Patients of ours have participated in Dr. Venuturupalli’s virtual reality studies in collaboration with ATTUNE HEALTH Research.

  • The Wallace Rheumatic Disease Studies Center continues to have 4 study coordinators, 20 studies, 2 physicians, and this on the attached list.

Currently on our drawing board is to put together an advisory committee of donors to collect inputs and steer us into a new direction. Also, 90% of all money donated is used for research purposes. On behalf of Dr. Wallace, Dr. Lee, and Jody, we are absolutely proud to have your confidence and support. We will keep you posted!

So far, our donors consist of patients who have the means to provide financial assistance. We are looking to expand our reach so that we can have an even bigger impact. If you want to do something heroic for the community, contact us today.

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