Mission Boost Grant (MBG)

The American Cancer Society (ACS) 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 and provided training for many health care professionals. They’ve also broadly expanded knowledge about cancer biology in cells, animals, and humans, and about cancer health services and disparities. The ACS Mission Boost Grants (MBG) have a different focus. They're designed 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.


MBGs are opportunities for ACS grantees to seek additional, or “boost,” resources for innovative, high-risk/high-reward projects. These grants offer 2 stages of funding.

  • Stage I 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. Stage I MBG studies can be preclinical or clinical in nature.
  • Stage II requires the investigator to have successfully completed the Stage I milestones. The investigator may apply for a Stage II MBG  to receive support for an additional period for advancing the research to clinical testing in cancer patients. Stage II 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)

Studies 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. 
  • Diagnostic techniques or methods for early detection of tumors in diseases like lung, esophageal, bladder, pancreatic, and brain cancer.

To learn more, see this press release.  

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), Clinician Scientist Development Grant (CSDG), 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 applying in the last year of the grant, as part of the Stage I review is 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

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

Stage II 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

Application Deadline: April 1 and October 15

Review Process: For applications submitted in April and October, the Mission Boost Peer Review Committee will review Stage I and Stage II proposals in June and January, respectively. After a review by the ACS Extramural Research Council in September and March, respectively, investigators selected for the Mission Boost Grants will be notified by email.

Resubmission: One resubmission is allowed for both Stage I and Stage II proposals.

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