Developing life-changing symptoms from a condition that is poorly understood and has no cure is challenging. Multiple doctors’ visits and reductions in quality of life are devastating, but being unsure if it will ever end is heartbreaking.

Individuals who suffer from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory condition that can affect almost any organ in the body, experience this. Some individuals’ cases resolve in a couple of years, but for others it can be a never-ending battle. Symptoms can include difficulty breathing, skin rashes, worsened eyesight, joint pain, and arrythmia.

Sarcoidosis affects different populations at different rates. African-American women and people from Scandinavian countries generally have the highest rates of sarcoidosis. While it is thought that both genetic susceptibility and environmental triggers are needed for onset, the impact of and interaction between these two is poorly understood.

Federal funding for sarcoidosis research, especially research focused on the underlying causes of the condition, have historically been low. The lack of understanding of the condition and the ongoing suffering of those who have sarcoidosis speaks to the need for increased funding in the sarcoidosis space.

To help remedy this situation, the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy (CSP) is partnering with the Ann Theodore Foundation (ATF) on the Ann Theodore Foundation Breakthrough Sarcoidosis Initiative. This grant program will support two-year research projects that seek to increase our understanding of the etiology, genetics, or molecular biology of sarcoidosis, and projects that will lead to the development of new tools that will help either improve the quality of scientific studies or the quality of life of individuals with the condition.

Researchers from around the world are welcome to apply. CSP encourages sarcoidosis experts to apply alongside non-sarcoidosis experts, as a key program goal is bringing more people into the space and fostering new ideas that could benefit everyone. The program is offering a higher pay cap to teams of non-sarcoidosis experts and sarcoidosis experts. All projects must be focused on further understanding the etiology and molecular basis of sarcoidosis.

All applicants are welcome to submit an optional letter of intent by Wednesday, October 26th, as an opportunity to receive feedback on their project. Full proposals are due on Tuesday, January 10th, 2023. If you are interested in applying or have any questions, please contact