Millions for Neglected Tropical Disease research announced at Key Meeting of Researchers and Funders

effect:hope and (The Leprosy Mission Ireland) launch R2STOP initiative to close knowledge gaps in NTD transmission

PHILADELPHIA, PA , October 22, 2015— A new research funding initiative aimed at closing gaps in the understanding of transmission of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) launched today at the annual COR-NTD meetingR2STOP (Research to Stop Transmission of Neglected Tropical Diseases) will grant up to $1 million per year, for at least three years, for research that targets questions of transmission in leprosy. In the future, R2STOP could support research that will contribute to the achievement of eradication and elimination of other NTDs.

The R2STOP initiative is co-sponsored by Toronto-based international development organization, effect:hope and TMTEL. The leaders of both organizations attended the launch. “R2STOP could help to achieve visionary and inspiring global goals,” said Mr. 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 by 2020,” added Mr. Ken Gibson, CEO of TMTEL, 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 award grants of $10,000 to $100,000 USD annually for a maximum of three years. The initial funding priorities are investigations of:

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

R2STOP will disburse funds through a call for proposals process which is available at


About R2STOP

R2STOP is an initiative of effect:hope and Its purpose is to promote and fund research that will close existing knowledge gaps in the relationship between hosts, environment, and the pathogens that cause the conditions known as neglected tropical diseases.

About Leprosy

Leprosy is one of the world’s oldest diseases. It continues to affect people in over 120 countries. Leprosy, or Hansen’s Disease, is caused by a bacterium and can be treated with a combination of medicines generously donated by the Novartis Foundation. Left untreated, leprosy results in ulcers, disabilities, and blindness. Often physiotherapy, assistive devices, and surgery are necessary to restore the health of an affected person. Those with the disease face discrimination and live life on the margins of society, in extreme poverty.

Leprosy is a neglected tropical disease (NTD), along with 16 other diseases that the world has mostly forgotten. Collectively, these ancient conditions affect a billion of the poorest people around the world.

About effect:hope

effect:hope is an international development organization focused on achieving lasting, positive change for the better among the world’s most neglected people – those affected by neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). With roots going back over 120 years, effect:hope, formerly The Leprosy Mission Canada, works to alleviate the burden of neglected tropical diseases in 11 countries in Asia and Africa, and champions and supports neglected tropical diseases research and advocacy efforts throughout the world. To learn more visit

About TMTEL (The Mission To End Leprosy)

TMTEL (The Leprosy Mission Ireland) works towards a world where people affected by leprosy and other similar conditions are empowered to overcome the bondage and humiliation of being condemned to poverty, isolation and marginalisation.

EH Commissioned Literature Review

In order to identify critical gaps in knowledge related to transmission and to set priorities, R2STOP founder effect:hope commissioned an independent literature review entitled “Systematic Literature Review on Current Knowledge Regarding the Transmission of Leprosy”.

Read the Literature Review

Remarkable progress has been made in the treatment and management of leprosy over the last 60 years. Current control strategies rest on early detection of disease and appropriate Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT) to cure the patient and halt transmission within the community. These strategies are built on a solid understanding of therapeutics for mycobacterial diseases but suffer from an incomplete understanding of transmission of Mycobacterium leprae and a shortage of tools that can truly diagnose leprosy at an early stage. Accordingly, transmission continues in many areas of the world.

To clarify the current state of our knowledge of M. leprae transmission and to establish a research agenda to address gaps in our understanding of transmission, an international symposium entitled “Developing Strategies to Block the Transmission of Leprosy” was organized and sponsored by effect:hope and held on May 29–30, 2014. The meeting was hosted by the National School of Tropical Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. The goal of the symposium was to establish a research agenda, aimed at bridging the gaps in our understanding of M. leprae transmission, which will complement a global research strategy focused on eliminating leprosy.