R2Stop Leprosy Research Initiative

A global scientific research initiative to stop transmission of the world’s Neglected Tropical Diseases…

In Philadelphia, at the third annual meeting of the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) on the 22nd October 2015, leprosy.ie: The Leprosy Mission Ireland and its strategic partner effect:hope (Canada) announced the launch of a major new global scientific research initiative to hasten the eradication of leprosy and a range of other Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Committing to fund transmission research of up to $1 million per annum, Ken Gibson, CEO of leprosy.ie said, “We are committed to working to eradicate leprosy and to control a range of other diseases. No disease can be eradicated without fully understanding how it is transmitted. This research is critical to reach the global elimination, eradication & control goals set by the international community.”

Applauding the significant role that Ireland has played in the global fight against leprosy, Gibson commented, “I’m proud, as an Irish man, to be announcing this initiative. Clofazimine, the key ingredient in the cure for leprosy was discovered at Trinity College Dublin and has since been used to treat more than 15 million men, women and children. Today’s scientific knowledge and advances offer the opportunity for us to make realistic gains in defeating the transmission of leprosy and a wide range of other neglected diseases. I’d be delighted if Irish researchers submitted proposals that took us on the journey to eradication of the world’s oldest known communicable disease. The first call for proposals will open in early 2016.”

About R2Stop…

Every year R2Stop will award up to $1 million across funding grants from $10,000 to $100,000 per project, per year, for up to 3 years each. Research proposals will be welcome from across the globe. The first call for proposals will be issued in early 2016. Researchers in Ireland are encouraged, in the first instance to contact Ken Gibson, ken@leprosy.ie.

The R2Stop initiative is co-sponsored by Toronto-based international development organization, effect:hope and Dublin-based leprosy.ie: The Leprosy Mission Ireland. The leaders of both organisations attended the launch. “R2Stop could help to achieve visionary and inspiring global goals,” said Peter Derrick, Executive Director of effect:hope, “The initiative is designed to accelerate ongoing efforts to eliminate leprosy. We want to reach ‘zero transmission’ of the disease,” added Ken Gibson, referring to goals set in the London Declaration, and WHO roadmap, on NTDs.

“In order to achieve zero transmission, we need to build a greater understanding of the basic elements of infection,” said Dr. Tom Gillis, Transmission Research Chair for R2Stop, “this includes investigations into the cause, diagnosis and treatment of leprosy and other NTDs.”

R2Stop will fund research to investigate missing information in the understanding of the transmission of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). R2Stop has identified initial research priorities to break the chain of transmission of these diseases:

1) Human-to-human transmission of M. leprae
2) Non-human reservoirs of M. leprae
3) Host-pathogen interactions
4) Transmission networks


About leprosy.ie: The Leprosy Mission Ireland and effect:hope

The Leprosy Mission was established by Irish man, Wellesley Bailey in Dublin in 1874. Out of that work has grown one of the world’s leading anti-leprosy networks. The organisation effect:hope, formerly The Leprosy Mission Canada, was also established by Wellesley Bailey. These two organisations work closely together to bring creative, cost effective interventions with demonstrable impacts in a wide range of developmental programmes in the developing world. Together, they are focused on creating world where leprosy is eliminated and men, women and children are no longer subjected to its stigma and economic bondage. Recognising their 140 years of expertise, they now also apply their knowledge and skills to range of other Neglected Tropical Diseases.

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