Mission Boost Grant (MBG)

The Extramural Research Program of the American Cancer Society has historically focused its investments on grant mechanisms that help launch the careers of investigators in cancer research. These investments have funded some of the brightest minds in cancer research. They’ve also broadly expanded knowledge about cancer biology in cells, animals, and humans, and about cancer health services and disparities, in addition to providing training for many healthcare professionals. To extend our previous focus, we are pleased to announce our new investment initiative: Mission Boost Grants. We designed these grants to support select current and past ACS grantees specifically for the translation of their research to human testing.

Mission Boost Grants support investigators who have received a grant from the American Cancer Society—recently or in the past.


Mission Boost Grants (MBG) are opportunities for ACS grantees to seek additional, or “boost,” resources for innovative, high-risk/high-reward projects. MBGs offer 2 stages of funding.

  • The Primary Boost requires the investigator to develop outcome-specific, unequivocal milestones that reduce the risks of studying a new drug, device, or procedure in patients. The topic of study may be the same that was previously funded by the ACS grant, but it doesn’t have to be. Primary MBG studies can be preclinical or clinical in nature.
  • The Secondary Boost requires the investigator to have successfully completed the Primary Boost milestones and submitted them to the Extramural Council for permission to move forward with this grant. The investigator may apply for a Secondary Boost grant to receive support for an additional period for advancing the research to clinical testing in cancer patients. Secondary MBG studies must involve testing in cancer patients.

Focus of the Mission Boost Program

To be considered for an MBG, research projects must focus on studies in cancer patients, such as:

  • Treatment – First Time in Humans (FTIH); clinical proof-of-concept (PoC); side effect reduction
  • Diagnostics/Prognostics/Medical Devices – Clinical validation in humans
  • Prevention – Including initial incidence or recurrence in humans (biomarker based/biomarker testing)

Of particular interest are new focal energy modalities or methods for treatment of solid or diffuse tumors, specifically ovarian, liver, pancreatic, prostate, or lung cancer; diagnostics for minimally or non-invasive detection to characterize the extent of tumor margins or degree of invasive disease and diagnostic techniques or methods for early detection of tumors in diseases like lung, esophageal, bladder, pancreatic and brain cancer. See http://pressroom.cancer.org/GCMI2018

Eligibility

Who’s Eligible: Applicants must be either current or past ACS grantees who:

  • Have held or currently hold one of these grants (or previous versions of such awards): Research Scholarship Grant (RSG), Mentored Research Scholar Grant (MRSG), Cancer Control Career Development Awards (CCCDA), or Pilot and Exploratory Projects in Palliative Care (PEP) award.
  • Held one of the above ACS grants for a minimum of 1 year. 
    Note: For current ACS grantees, we recommend delaying submission of letter of intent (LOI) until the last year of the grant since part of the LOI review may include consideration of discoveries made under ACS support.
  • Are currently independent, full-time faculty at a not-for-profit, US-based research institution that has facilities and support to enable preclinical and clinical studies.

Who’s Not Eligible: People who have had only grants for ACS Postdoctoral Fellows or ACS Professors, without also having one of the grant types listed above.

Grant Term and Budget

Primary Mission Boost – A maximum $100,000 Direct plus 20% Indirect costs per year may be requested for up to 2 years (Total: $240,000).

Secondary Mission Boost – A maximum of $300,000 Direct plus 20% Indirect costs (Total: $360,000) may be requested for up to 18 months.

Application and Review Process

LOI Opening Date: January 15, 2020

LOI Deadline: March 1, 2020

Letter of Intent (LOI) Requirements: The letter of intent must include:

  • A curriculum vitae of the principal investigator (PI)
  • Brief description of the Primary (e.g. preclinical) Boost plans and key milestones
  • Brief description of the Secondary (clinical) Boost plans.

How to Submit an LOI: Please follow the link to Altum/Proposal Central.

Notification Process: On April 15, 2020, selected PIs will receive an email inviting them to apply. Those invited to submit a full application will be provided with a set of policies and instructions. 

Full Application Deadline: July 1, 2020 

Review Process: The ACS Extramural Research Council will review proposals in September. Investigators selected for the Mission Boost Grants will be notified by email in early October 2020. The grants start date is January 1, 2021.

For questions about this grant mechanism, please email grants@cancer.org.