Our Mission

All American Cancer Society (ACS) research programs include discovery research. The distinct mandate of the Extramural Discovery Science (EDS) team is to review and fund research performed at eligible US research institutions external (extramural) to ACS that can help cancer patients and their families.

The primary focus of the EDS department, led by Elvan Daniels, MD, MPH, is to identify and invest in the most creative young investigators across the country. We support the investigators who are doing the most innovative cancer discovery research by using a rigorous, independent, anonymous, and highly competitive peer review process.


ACS Research Priority Area:


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We are committed to maintaining a cancer research portfolio that includes any type of cancer, spans the cancer research continuum, and is aligned with our research priorities.

Our priority focus on health equity places special emphasis on addressing the social determinants of health that drive cancer health disparities and funding innovative solution-based health equity research.

We strongly encourage all ACS grantees to share their data freely and rapidly with systems that are open to the public to maximize value to cancer patients.  

In addition to our traditional extramural research grants program, our portfolio includes several newly launched grant mechanisms: 

And, we have new requests for research applications!

We are still requesting applications for: 

The funds that we use to support research grants are possible because of generous donations to the ACS. See our current research investments.

Key Terms

  • Discovery research: Experiments with genes, cells, animals, or people to find a new or improved understanding of an action, health behavior, process, technique, technology, or model to improve care.
  • Research continuum: The full scope of research—often referred to as bench to bedside. The research can be performed in a research lab, in clinical trials, with health care providers, in health care systems, and within communities. 
  • Social determinants of health: Non-medical factors that influence health. These include conditions in the environments where people are born, live, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, quality-of-life outcomes and risks, and the social, economic, and political systems that shape the conditions of daily life. 
  • Structural racism/systemic racism: Normalized historical, cultural, political, and institutional practices that govern society and benefit White people and disadvantage people of color. These can include housing policies, educational systems, and employment practices that reinforce and perpetuate inequities among racial groups. 

See How ACS Grantees Are Helping End Cancer 

Go to Research Highlights.

Our Work

The Extramural Discovery Science (EDS) team facilitates the evaluation of grant applications by external and independent reviewers and manages the grant portfolios, providing appropriate oversight and stewardship of donors’ investments in cancer research. 

I was on the verge of shutting down my laboratory. In a career-changing move for me, the American Cancer Society funded my first grant.

Dr. Gary Hammer, M.D., Ph.D, - American Cancer Society Grantee