RFA: Cancer Stem Cell Consortium

A Collaboration Between the American Cancer Society and
Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation 

PURPOSE

The American Cancer Society (ACS) and Lisa Dean Moseley Foundation are collaborating to create a research consortium that will advance the translation of cancer stem cell discoveries to accelerate the impact on patients.

The consortium will offer grants to the most promising research proposals, including for a Consortium Leader who will serve as a visionary in the field of cancer stem cells to lead these funded individuals and teams to work as a collaborative community.

All interested individuals and teams should design their research proposals to advance the understanding of cancer stem cells and leverage that knowledge to develop and test innovative strategies that help prevent cancer stem cells’ contribution to treatment resistance, metastasis, disease recurrence, cancer mortality, or a combination of these issues.

Mark Your Calendar

Applications Open in proposalCENTRAL: 
January 2022

Interactive Webinar to Learn More: 
January 31, from 12 to 1 EST (Webinar will be recorded and available upon request.)

Microsoft Teams meeting
Join on computer or mobile app. 
Click here to join the meeting
Or call in (audio only) +1 917-727-7985 
Conference ID: 409 320 103#

LOI Due Date (Only for Consortium Lead and Interdisciplinary Team Awards): March 15, 2022 at 11:59 pm ET

Invitation-to-Apply Date (Only for Consortium Lead and Interdisciplinary Team Awards):
April 1, 2022

Application Deadline (all mechanisms): 
June 1, 2022

Award Notification: December 2022

Grant Activation: January 2023

We anticipate that the work of these individuals and of the collaborative community, will improve the scientific community’s ability to detect and target cancer stem cells and influence the development of much-needed, personalized and durable cancer treatments.

BACKGROUND

Many cancer therapies work by killing rapidly dividing cells, which includes most cells within tumors. These treatments initially cause tumors to shrink or become undetectable, which gives patients hope.

But cancer stem cells, a small subset of cells within tumors, have an exquisite ability to change the way they look and function, allowing them to hide from the immune system, evade destruction by cancer drugs or irradiation, and also to metastasize.

Even though a relatively small number of cancer stem cells may remain after treatment, they can lead to the recurrence of the original tumor, life-threatening metastasis to distant vital organs, and development of treatment resistance.

Cancer stem cells could be the Achilles’ heel for effective frontline oncology treatments. New therapies that seek and destroy cancer stem cells offer a new hope for preventing cancer’s recurrence and devastating progression.

There are significant knowledge gaps about how cancer stem cells can be so persistent in a variety of cancer types. Our goal for this substantial investment to study cancer stem cells  is to maximize the knowledge gained from this newly created community of multidisciplinary scientists so that outcomes for patients can improve more quickly.

SCIENTIFIC SCOPE

All proposals should be hypothesis-driven with a focus on cancer stem cells and include an articulated vision for reducing the burdens of cancer. We welcome projects along the cancer research continuum, especially those integrating multi-disciplinary approaches with near-term clinical impact. Examples of possible research areas include:

  • Elucidating mechanisms that underpin cancer stem cell-mediated metastasis, treatment resistance, or disease recurrence (mechanisms may include genetic; epigenetic; transcriptional reprogramming and heterogeneity; metabolic rewiring; immunorecognition; dormancy/reawakening; heterotypic cell biology of tumors, microenvironments, and niches; physical and spatial properties of tumors, microenvironments, and niches)
  • Developing novel pre-clinical therapeutics that target cancer stem cells or their pathways
  • Improving existing or emerging cancer therapies by testing them in combination with an anti-cancer stem cell approach
  • Developing more sensitive and specific technologies to advance the understanding of cancer stem cells and/or their detection for clinical utility
  • Identifying or validating predictive or prognostic cancer stem cell biomarkers

GRANT MECHANISMS, ELIGIBILITY, AND BUDGET

This Cancer Stem Cell Consortium offers funding opportunities for independent faculty at all ranks and for postdoctoral fellows.

Applications must be submitted by a college, university, medical school, or other eligible not-for-profit research organization within the United States, its territories, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Applicants should review the American Cancer Society’s Grant Policies and the Instructions about the grant mechanism they're interested in.

Consortium Lead Award* 

Overview: The Consortium Leader helps address research challenges and needs of consortium members (~15 PIs), encourage community collaborations, moderate virtual and onsite meetings/retreats, and advise ACS Extramural Discovery Science (EDS) staff about developing shared resources, communication materials, and retreat agendas. 

Eligibility: You ARE eligible to submit a proposal if you have:

  • Been a full-time, independent investigator for at least 10 years, including ACS Research Professors and Clinical Research Professors (with active or completed awards)
  • Have made seminal contributions to the understanding of cancer stem cells

Note: Receipt of this award will not preclude future ACS funding opportunities if the PI meets all eligibility requirements for that funding mechanism.

Grant Term and Budget: The award is for a 6-year term with $660K for direct costs, which includes $30K a year for administrative support and $80K a year for salary or cancer stem cell-related project support.

Letter-of-Intent (LOI) Requirements and Due Date: By March 15, 2022 submit via proposalCENTRAL (1) Your curriculum vitae with a complete bibliography and (2) an LOI.

The LOI should be a maximum of 2 pages that describes:

  • Your contributions to the advancement of the cancer stem cell field
  • Gaps in the field that you hope to address through this unique leadership role
  • How your experiences with, and philosophy for, mentoring, leadership, and collaboration uniquely position you to lead the American Cancer Society and Lisa Dean Moseley Cancer Stem Cell Consortium.

Invitation to Apply Date: By April 1, 2022, invitation-to-apply decisions will be communicated to applicants via proposalCENTRAL. That correspondence will include a link to the grant application and instruction materials posted on proposalCENTRAL.

Interdisciplinary Team Award 

Overview: The selected research team includes interdisciplinary members to promote transformational advances in cancer stem cell research. The team must consist of at least 3 members: Lead PI and at least 1 Team Principal and 1 Team Investigator.

Team Members:

  • Lead PI* (no multi- or co-PIs allowed) serves as the team leader and primary point of contact for the ACS Extramural Discovery Science staff, ensures the team complies with the terms of the award, and oversees all organization assurances and certifications.
    • Eligibility: You ARE eligible to submit a proposal if you have:
      • Been an independent investigator for at least 5 years
      • Have expertise in cancer stem cells or in another discipline that is central to the proposed research
      • The ability to dedicate 10% or more of your time and effort to the team project.
  • Team Principal* leads a component of the research based on their area(s) of expertise and, together with the Lead PI, shares authority for scientific leadership.
    • Eligibility: You ARE eligible to submit a proposal if you have:
      • Been an independent investigator with at least 5-years of experience as a faculty member
      • Expertise that is diverse from the Lead PI
      • The ability to dedicate at least 10% effort to collaboratively move a subproject forward.
  • Team Investigator: Roles, percent effort, and career stage to be defined by Lead PI and/or Team Principal(s). We highly encourage integrating at least 1 early-career investigator into the team.

Grant Term and Budget: The award is for a 5-year term with $1.2M total costs ($200K a year plus 20% allowable indirect costs)

Letter-of-Intent (LOI) Requirements and Due Date: By March 15, 2022 submit via proposalCENTRAL:

  • An abstract describing the:
    • Background for the interdisciplinary research plan
    • Specific aims and hypothesis
    • Study design
    • Plan for data analysis
    • Expected significance and impact
  • Description of the interdisciplinary team and how this team is well positioned to successfully achieve the goals of the project and contribute to the cancer stem cell field.
  • NIH biosketches for the Lead PI, Team Principal(s), and Team Investigator(s)

Invitation to Apply Date: By April 1, 2022, invitation-to-apply decisions will be communicated to applicants via proposalCENTRAL. That correspondence will include a link to the grant application and instruction materials posted on proposalCENTRAL.

Research Scholar Grant 

Overview: Funds an independent research project related to cancer stem cells

Eligibility: You ARE eligible to submit a proposal if you are a:

  • Full-time independent investigator at any stage in your career
  • Have any level of extramural funding

    Note: PI eligibility for this RFA is extended beyond the ACS standard career-launching RSG.

Grant Term and Budget: Awards are for up to 4 years with $165K a year direct costs, plus 20% allowable indirect costs

Clinician-Scientist Development Grant 

Overview: Provides protected time for junior faculty to be mentored and participate in cancer stem cell-related research training to aid their development as independent clinician scientists

Eligibility: You ARE eligible to submit a proposal if you are a:

  • Licensed clinician who is within the first 6 years of your initial faculty appointment
  • Have an active role in patient care

Grant Term and Budget: Award is for 3 to 5 years with $135K direct costs a year, plus 8% allowable indirect costs

Postdoctoral Fellowship 

Overview: Funds training for a career in cancer research

Eligibility: You are eligible if you are:

  • A US citizen or permanent resident
  • Have had your doctoral degree for LESS than 3 years (time spent in clinical-only training is not counted)

Grant Term and Budget: Awards are for 2 to 3 years with progressive stipends, plus an annual $4K fellowship allowance and $1,500 travel allowance in the last year

Additional Questions: For questions about the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium funding opportunities or associated collaborative community, please contact Lynne Elmore at lynne.elmore@cancer.org or Kimberly Clarke at kimberly.clarke@cancer.org.

* An eligible independent investigator can apply for the Constortium Lead, Interdisciplinary Team Award Lead PI, Team Principal, Team Investigator, and/or Research Scholar Grant but can only accept 1 award as PI.

Goes to proposalCENTRAL