Funding News

Several non-governmental organizations offer research support grants that are either provided to support work on a broad range of cancer-related subjects or are directed at specific types of cancer or patient populations. While a few funds are generally structured to support "all comers," the majority are intended for a specific target, such a postdoctoral fellow or junior faculty pursuing a project on a specific subject. The following is a brief list of some of the available sources of funding which we will continue to expand in future issues of Cancer Research Alert.

The Lymphoma Research Foundation of America (LRFA) was founded seven years ago with a commitment to funding clinical and basic science lymphoma research at top universities and cancer centers across the nation. It is hoped that breakthroughs in lymphoma treatment will offer the key to understanding and curing other forms of cancer. Research grants are awarded yearly and cover the period July 1-June 30. These fellowship awards provide funding for third-year researchers to encourage young investigators to pursue a career in lymphoma research. To date, the Foundation has funded 58 projects.

The grant applications consist of a detailed description of the research project, its goals and relevance, plus letters of endorsement from the applicant’s research supervisor. Applications are carefully reviewed by a scientific review board and judged on scientific merit and their potential to improve our understanding of lymphoma and its treatments. Highly technical projects are sent to independent lymphoma experts for peer review.

Grant applications for funding year 2000-2001 will be available in August, 1999. To receive additional information or to receive LRFA’s fellowship guidelines, send a request by e-mail to LRFA@aol.com or by fax to the Foundation at (310) 204-7043. Further information is available at www.lymphoma.org.

The American Philosophical Society (APS) awards a limited number of Clinical Investigator Fellowships for research in clinical medicine, including the fields of internal medicine, neurology, and pediatrics. This award is intended to support patient-oriented research.

APS fellowships are awarded to those who have had a MD/PhD degree for less than six years. This is generally intended to be the first post-clinical fellowship, but each case will be decided on its individual merits. Preference is generally given to candidates who have not more than two years of postdoctoral training and research. Applicants must expect to perform their research at an institution in the United States under the supervision of a scientific adviser, and essentially 100% of the fellow’s time will be devoted to research. Additional salary may be granted by the institution at which the fellow is located, from another fellowship, or from a similar award during the tenure of the fellowship. Candidates are to be nominated by their department chairman and, as a general rule, no more than one fellowship will be awarded to a given institution in the same year of competition.

Stipends for the fellowship are $50,000 for the first year and $50,000 for the second year. The term of the fellowship is one year, with renewal for one year if satisfactory progress is demonstrated. Applications for first-year fellowships are due no later than September 1, and a written decision will be mailed to candidates in January. Foreign nationals who wish to apply may write directly to their scientific advisers and ask their advisers to contact the Society. Application forms are available at the APS website at www.amphilsoc.org or by writing to: Clinical Investigator Fellowship Committee, American Philosophical Society, 104 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106.

The Cancer Research Institute’s (CRI) programs are designed to support basic and clinical research focused on the link between the immune system and cancer and developing immunological approaches to therapy. Traditionally, CRI has focused its funding on melanoma and prostate cancer, however, they recently have broadened the scope of funding to include grants supporting research on gynecologic malignancies and AIDS. Last year, the Institute expanded its existing programs to offer funding to every level of investigator: institutional grants for predoctoral students, training grants for postdoctoral fellows, and investigator awards for junior and senior faculty. Awards support laboratory research in cancer immunology, provide seed money to support Phase I and II clinical trials of new cancer immunotherapies, and support projects for which funds have been specifically raised.

Through CRI’s predoctoral pathway, universities and research centers are invited to apply for training grants establishing multi-year programs that support doctoral students interested in pursuing careers in cancer immunology. The grants provide the institution with $450,000 over a four-year period.

The Postdoctoral Fellowship Program fosters the training of qualified young immunologists worldwide. Fellowships are awarded for a period of two years but can be extended to a third if the fellow has demonstrated substantial research progress. As of July 1, 1998, the stipend for new fellows was raised to $32,000 for the first year, $34,000 for the second, and $36,000 for the third. A yearly allowance of $1,500 is paid to the host institution to help meet expenses for research supplies, travel to scientific meetings, and health insurance incurred on behalf of the fellow. In fiscal 1998, CRI awarded $3.8 million to support 36 postdoctoral fellows. In all, 104 fellows (57 men and 47 women representing 53 institutions in 4 countries) were supported this year.

The Investigator Award Program provides support ($50,000 a year for a period of four years) for 57 assistant professors undertaking their first independent investigations. In 1998, the program was restructured to include awards in both basic and tumor immunology.

An eight-person panel of the Scientific Advisory Council selects recipients based on the applicant’s entire body of research. In fiscal 1998, the Institute awarded $1.2 million to support six new investigators.

CRI’s Preclinical Research Grants program, begun last year, funds both immunological and cancer immunological research in human cancers and in animal models. Grants provide $100,000 a year for three years. Six grants totaling $1.8 million dollars were awarded in 1998.

Funds for this program are awarded through the Institute’s prostate cancer and melanoma initiatives. The deadline for Prostate Cancer Preclinical Grants is April 15 and for Melanoma Preclinical Grants is September 1. The Institute may also invite applications on other topics.

In 1992, CRI inaugurated its first formal program to support clinical trials (carefully controlled patient studies) of cancer immunotherapies. Since then, it has awarded funds to support 19 Phase I and Phase II (early-stage) trials. In 1998, the Institute’s Clinical Trials Program was reevaluated to provide increased funding. These grants now provide $150,000 a year for three years. In fiscal 1998, CRI awarded $1,050,000 to support five clinical trials. Applicants may apply for Clinical Trials Grants through the Institute’s prostate cancer and melanoma initiatives. The deadline for Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials Grants is April 15 and the deadline for Melanoma Clinical Trials Grants is September 1. Proposals in other areas may be invited at certain times.

Other programs sponsored by CRI, including grants for research on AIDS, breast cancer, and other malignancies, will be discussed in future issues of Cancer Research Alert. Further information is available at the CRI website: www.cancerresearch.org.