2016 ALCF-IASLC Joint Fellowship Award for the Early Detection of Lung Cancer Request For Applications

The Bonnie J Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF), in collaboration with the International Association for the Study or Lung Cancer (IASLC) is pleased to announce their first joint Fellowship Award to support novel, innovative and translational research with potential of high clinical impact on the early detection of lung cancer. This ALCF-IASLC Fellowship is the first joint, international fellowship award between the two organizations that will support an early career scientist to train with and conduct research on early detection modalities in an established lung cancer research team of their choice, anywhere in the world.

The objective of this new ALCF-IASLC funding mechanism is to identify brilliant, young “out of the box” thinkers/researchers who can deliver a meaningful and measurable result for the early detection of lung cancer that has a high probability of near-term benefit to lung cancer patients or individuals at risk, as well as to provide an opportunity for young researchers to learn new cutting-edge technologies and take this expertise back to their home country.

2016 ALCF-IASLC Fellowship Award

  • The ALCF-IASLC Young Investigator Award will provide $150,000 per year over 2 years, i.e. a total of $300,000 depending on the proposal and final decision by the Scientific Review Committee.
  • The award will cover direct research costs, international travel, salary requirements and equipment costs only. No indirect costs/benefits will be covered by this funding.
  • Young Investigators must propose to conduct first in field, innovative and transformative research on new modalities for the early detection of lung cancer.
  • Young Investigators must be guided by mentors at the host institutions of their choice who are willing to provide formal documentation of their Mentorship Plan for the applicant (details below).
  • Progress of each research project will be reviewed and decisions on continued funding will be made jointly by ALCF and IASLC.
  • The funding period for the 2016 ALCF-IASLC Young Investigator Awards is June 1, 2016- May 31, 2018.

2016 IASLC-ALCF Fellowship Award Recipient

Dr. Robin Mjelle

Recipient: Robin Mjelle, PhD

Affiliation: Dept. of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
Norwegian University of Science and Technology NTNU
7006 Trondheim, Norway

Proposal title: Cancer Biomarkers in HUNT: Early diagnosis of lung cancer.

Proposal Overview: The prospective population-based HUNT2 and HUNT3 study in Norway included 80,000 people with 190 clinical variables and blood samples collected 1996-7 and 2006-8 (http://www.ntnu.edu/hunt). For 65,000 participants there is more than 15 years follow-up, where more than 500 participants were subsequently diagnosed with lung cancers, where diagnosis, diagnosis date and date of death of all subjects are known. Using this cohort, Mjelle and colleagues plan to develop a risk-prediction tool that will help the development of a serum poly-marker kit.

Specific aims:

  1. Develop a novel Risk Prediction Model tool for selecting individuals at high-risk for lung cancer screening
  2. Screen serum 2-4 years before diagnosis and controls (smokers and never smokers), each sample by four separate methods, Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), Magnetic resonance metabolomics (MRS), Mass Spectrometry Proteomics and Metabolomics (LC-MSMS and other).
  3. Analyze the discovery datasets by state-of the art bioinformatics
  4. Validate the biomarkers in a larger group of the HUNT cohort
  5. Initiate development of a biomarker poly-marker kit

Key Dates

RFA Announcement: September 6, 2015
Application Submission Deadline: November 30, 2015
Peer Review Round 1: January 8, 2016
Peer Review Round 2: Top 5 applicants present to the Scientific Review Committee/ in-person review: January 22, 2016
Award Announcements and Notification: February 1, 2016
Award Start Date: June 1, 2016
Award End Date: May 31, 2018

Award Application Guidelines

  1. Eligibility:
    1. Applicants (MD/PhD/ MD, PhD) must be within 5 years of their first faculty appointment as of June 5, 2015. Applicants who have completed 2 years of their fellowship/post-doctoral training and are on track for faculty appointments are eligible to apply.
    2. Investigators representing non-profit academic research centers worldwide are eligible to apply. Investigators from for-profit companies and government-sponsored institutions, i.e. NIH, are ineligible. I
    3. Individuals employed by federal government agencies may participate in research proposals as non-funded collaborators, but may not apply for direct funding.
    4. Investigators need not be specifically trained in lung cancer research; however, they should be working in an environment (host institution) capable of conducting high quality, high impact lung cancer research.
    5. Investigators must be able to show clear evidence of a path towards an independent research program.
    6. Multiple applications will be accepted from a single institution, provided that each application has a different PI and represents a distinct hypothesis.
    7. An investigator may serve as a PI on only one proposal.
    8. Documentation of an equal in-kind level of support from the young investigator’s institution will be requested in the form of dedicated space, equipment, institutional overhead, core institutional resources, etc. The documentation required is a letter from the Cancer Center Director or Departmental Chairperson, which confirms institutional commitment to the career development of the Young Innovator, for the entire duration of the award.
  2. Key Criteria:
    1. Relevance to lung cancer patients: The proposed research must deliver a meaningful and measurable result for the early detection of lung cancer.
    2. Innovation, creativity, quality and originality of proposed transformative research: Novel approaches with strong scientific rationale and clear capacity to revolutionize prevention, early diagnosis and staging for patients with lung cancer or for individuals at risk are encouraged.
    3. Scientific merit: Outstanding and rigorous proposals that present an appropriate, feasible and adequate experimental design/methodology and measurable outcomes as determined by peer review.
    4. Potential for rapid translation to clinical testing and patient benefit: Proposals that articulate a clear path to clinical application will be strongly favored.
    5. Research Environment and Investigator capability: Each applicant must be able to demonstrate the ability to undertake independent investigator-initiated clinical research, and must be working in an environment that provides adequate facilities and supports their research and growth.
    6. Structured Mentorship Plan:  Each applicant must submit a letter from a mentor at the host institution that describes a structured plan for mentorship. The Mentor Support Letter must include: 1) Training and Mentorship Plan for the applicant that provides a detailed description of the intended structure of the mentor-investigator interaction for the duration of the award, 2) Confirmation that the applicant is within first five years of their first faculty appointment, or has completed two years of post-doctoral training, 3) A critical review of the both the applicant and the proposed research, 4) The role(s) or anticipated role(s) the applicant holds (or will hold) at the institution, 5) The level of institutional commitment to the applicant’s career development as an independent researcher.
    7. Future Plans: Applicants must provide a detailed plan about their future goals and long-term plans upon the completion of the funding period, specifically, 1) their intentions to return to their home country; 2) plans to continue the research after the completion of the ALCF-IASLC grant.
  3. Application Form: All applications must be emailed to Pia Hirsch at Pia.Hirsch@iaslc.org by November 30, 2015.
  4. Research Proposal: The Research Proposal and all supporting documents should be merged into a single PDF file. A complete application will include the documents below, arranged in the following order in the PDF file:
    1. Cover Page: Name, institution and contact information of the young investigator.
    2. Statement of originality (1 page limit): This statement delineates why the work is first in field, original and will be of immediate impact on early detection of lung cancer. ALCF and IASLC seek novel ideas, not derivatives of ongoing investigations or incremental research. Please specify how long you anticipate for the bench-to-bedside translation of the proposed research to impact lung cancer patient lives.
    3. Research Proposal (10 page limit): includes the narrative text, any preliminary data in support of the proposal, specific aims, project timeline, milestones and deliverables. Please describe the specific outcomes/deliverables of the proposed research plan in general, and for each specific aim. Please address potential problem areas and present alternative approaches and solutions.
    4. A list of references of research cited.
    5. NIH Biosketch: Please submit a 4-page NIH Biographical Sketch for each investigator, including a list of relevant publications, available for download at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/phs398/biosketchsample.pdf.
    6. Letter of Support from mentor at host institution
    7. Institutional Letter of Support- Letter of Support from mentor at home institution and/or Department Chair stating that the applicant has been granted permission to travel and will have a position in the Department upon their return.
    8. Budget page(s): Please include budget justification and an annual budget for the proposal prepared using NIH Budget forms like PHS 398. ALCF and IASLC will cover only direct costs. No indirect costs, overhead costs or other institutional levies will be covered by this award; however fringe benefits for personnel salaries are allowable. The following information is required: current support, pending support and institutional support (start-up funds etc.). All funding sources including intramural and extramural sources must be included- institutional awards, grants from for-profit, and not-for-profit agencies, government bodies etc. Please indicate if there is overlap between any funded/pending grant and the current proposed research.
    9. Certification of compliance with Human Subjects and Animal Care Assurance as applicable, are required by ALCF and IASLC for consideration of submitted proposals for review. In cases where ethical/regulatory approval is required to perform the work, such approvals must be provided at the time of application submission. Failure to secure such approvals before application submission will result in the automatic rejection of the proposal.
  5. Reporting results:
    1. Full term funding of the award will be contingent upon review of six-monthly Progress Reports (1 page lay/non-technical summary, 5 page deeply scientific summary, 5 slide PowerPoint deck with scientific data), Financial Progress Reports, telephonic and in-person data presentation, and other oversight activities conducted by ALCF, IASLC and the Scientific Review committee.
    2. All recipients are required to present detailed scientific progress to the Scientific Review Committee, as well as at the Annual ALCF Scientific Retreat.
    3. Multi-year support is not automatic for any ALCF-IASLC award and is conditioned on meeting pre-determined milestones and deliverables, including submission of complete and accurate progress reports.
    4. A final Progress Report (2 page lay summary/ 10 page technical summary with data, PowerPoint presentation) must be filed within 60 days of the award’s end date.
    5. All ALCF-IASLC award recipients must acknowledge ALCF-IASLC support in all scientific publications, press releases, social media entries arising from this funding.
    6. Electronic copies of publications, presentations, abstracts that report research supported by ALCF-IASLC funds must be submitted to Pia Hirsch, IASLC (Pia.Hirsch@iaslc.org) and Dr. Guneet Walia, ALCF (guneet@go2foundation.org) at the time of publication. These articles will be a part of the recipient’s award file and will assist ALCF, IASLC and their partners to educate patients, caregivers, donors and others about the progress of the proposed research and its impact on the field of lung cancer biology.
    7. For questions about this award, funding mechanism and eligibility, please contact Pia Hirsch at pia.Hirsch@iaslc.org or Dr. Guneet Walia at guneet@go2foundation.org.

The deadline for applications is 
11:59 PM Pacific Time, Friday, November 30, 2015.