CARRA Newsletter - June 2020


CARRA-Arthritis Foundation Grants: Exciting Changes and Important Reminders

We Heard You!

Based on the feedback of our members, CARRA is increasing the funding amounts and project timelines for our small and large grants.  Small grants are increasing from up to $25,000 for one year to up to $50,000 for two years and large grants are increasing from up to $50,000 over one year to up to $100,000 over two years!  More details coming soon…

Important Reminders

If you are planning to apply for the CARRA-Arthritis Foundation Small or Large Grants due October 1, 2020 please be aware:

  • Submission of a Letter of Intent (LOI) is required for a large grant submission; LOIs are due September 1.
  • Small and Large Grant applications are due October 1.

For Applications Involving the CARRA Registry:

  • If you plan to collect new data and/or biosamples via the CARRA Registry or CARRA sites, you must email a brief summary of your proposal to [email protected] by July 15 to receive the required Letter of Support from CARRA’s Research and Registry Oversight Committee (RROC).
  • If you plan to utilize the CARRA Registry or CARRA-related data and/or samples in your application, you must submit your Data Sample Share Request by August 15.


  • If you are applying for a Data Analysis Support Grant, you must email [email protected]  to discuss the scope of your project at least 2 weeks prior to submitting your application.

News and Notes

WANTED: CARRA Registry Sites!

CARRA is looking for 3 more sites to join the CARRA Registry at this time. Interested sites should have the ability to access research coordinator and regulatory support and have a dedicated and engaged Principal Investigator (PI). The Registry PI must be a current CARRA member. If you have questions about the research coordinator responsibilities and effort required to participate in the CARRA Registry, please email our Research Coordinator Network leadership at [email protected].  For additional questions about participating in the CARRA Registry, please email [email protected]Applications for the current cycle are due Monday, August 3. Click here to apply.

CARRA Registry Stats (as of 6/22/20)

CARRA Research in the News

Laboratory studies have suggested that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ [Plaquenil]) can slow the growth of the 2019 coronavirus, however, it is unknown whether the doses of HCQ regularly given to pediatric patients with rheumatic diseases reach high enough levels to see this effect. A team of researchers, led by CARRA members Stephen Balevic and Laura Schanberg, sought to understand whether children who take HCQ to treat lupus have high enough levels in their blood to potentially slow the growth of the coronavirus.

The research team studied data and samples from CARRA’s APPLE Trial* and found that: 1) current HCQ dosing is unlikely to reach high enough levels in the blood to stop growth of the coronavirus and 2) high quality clinical trials are needed to determine whether the long-term doses of HCQ given to patients with rheumatic disease have any benefit in the setting of the coronavirus. See full article recently published in The Journal of Rheumatology here.  This research was funded in part by a CARRA-Arthritis Foundation grant.

*CARRA’s APPLE trial (PIs Laura Schanberg, Christy Sandborg) remains the world’s largest clinical trial of pediatric lupus patients to date. The APPLE study was a prospective multicenter clinical trial of 221 children and adolescents with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Data and biosamples were collected from patients 21 CARRA North American sites from 2003 to 2009 and remain available for ongoing research.

CARRA Members Share their 2020 VERITY Course Experiences

VERITY (Value and Evidence in Rheumatology using bioInformaTics, and advanced analYtics) is a NIAMS-funded P30 research program awarded to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The 2020 VERITY course was held virtually Tuesday, May 12 through Friday, May 15 and was aimed at clinical investigators pursuing rheumatic disease epidemiologic and patient-oriented research. Attendees developed or refined a research protocol or specific aims for a grant proposal during the course.

Through a partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, CARRA was able to select one member to receive participate in the VERITY/Brigham Course at no cost. Funding for this award was provided by NIAMS. CARRA was pleased to select Patricia Vega Fernandez as the 2020 recipient for the full award.

“I highly recommend the VERITY course for those early investigators looking to enhance or develop the skills necessary to become a successful clinical and translational researcher… The best part of the course is the mentoring you received. I met with several mentors and peers who provided high quality feedback to improve my specific aims page and career goals in general.”

--Patricia Vega Fernandez, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

CARRA also selected additional members to receive partial sponsorship to participate in the virtual course. These awardees include Nicole Bitencourt, Jessica Bloom and John Bridges. To read about their experiences, click here.


Important Deadlines and Updates

  • July 1: New CARRA Leadership Starts
  • July 24: CARRA 2020: Virtual Update

  • September 1: Letter of Intent (LOI) for CARRA-Arthritis Foundation Large Grants Due
  • October 1: Applications for CARRA-Arthritis Foundation Small and Large Grants Due

We want to hear about YOU!

  • CARRA is starting a new section to highlight noteworthy accomplishments, work and activities of our members (and their family members!). If you have a story to share about yourself or another CARRA member, please reach out to Anna Tietgen, CARRA Communications Manager at [email protected].

Utrecht Summer School Rescheduled for Virtual Session in October                     

  • The in-person translational research course previously scheduled to take place this summer in Utrecht, Netherlands will now take place online in October. The course is currently being restructured to focus on COVID-19 and translational medicine. CARRA will have the opportunity to select a limited number of attendees for this course; please keep an eye out for more application details as they become available.