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TRANSCAN-2: Joint Transnational Call for Proposals (JTC 2015)

TRANSCAN-2, the ERA-NET: Aligning national/regional translational cancer research programmes and activities, is a five-year project that is the continuation of the previous ERANET TRANSCAN.

TRANSCAN-2 has the goal of coordinating national and regional funding programmes for research in the area of translational cancer research. The specific challenge is to promote a transnational collaborative approach between scientific teams in demanding areas of translational cancer research while avoiding the duplication of efforts and ensuring a more efficient use of available resources, to produce significant results of higher quality and impact, and share data and infrastructures. Along this line TRANSCAN-2 is launching its second Joint Transnational Call for research proposals (JTC 2015).

The topic of the call is:

“Immunology and immunotherapy of cancer: strengthening the translational aspects”

The following funding organisations have agreed to participate in the second call of TRANSCAN-2 (JTC 2015):

· Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO), Belgium, Flanders

· Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS), Belgium, French speaking community

· Estonian Research Council (ETAg), Estonia

· National Cancer Institute (INCa), France

· ARC French Foundation for Cancer Research (ARC Foundation), France

· The Chief Scientist Office of the Ministry of Health (CSO-MOH), Israel

· Ministry of Health (MoH), Italy

· Alliance Against Cancer (ACC), Italy

· State Education Development Agency (VIAA), Latvia

· National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR), Poland

· Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), Portugal

· Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAS), Slovakia

· National Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII), Spain

· The Foundation for the support of the Applied Scientific Research and Technology in Asturias (FICYT), Spain

· Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), Taiwan

The call is published simultaneously by the funding organisations in their respective countries and on the TRANSCAN website.

Interested researchers and/or research teams are advised to prepare and make the necessary contacts and arrangements towards preparing applications. Please see below the details of the call topics and an outline of the eligibility criteria.

The Italian Ministry of Health (Ministero della Salute, MoH) and the National Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità, ISS) act as Joint Call Secretariat (JCS) to coordinate the application and selection process of JTC 2015.

AIMS OF THE CALL

The second call of TRANSCAN-2 (JTC 2015) focuses on: “Immunology and immunotherapy of cancer: strengthening the translational aspects”

In the past few years, the increased understanding of the human immune system, of the basic mechanisms involved in the recognition of cancer cells by innate and acquired immune cells and of escape pathways put in place by cancer and its microenvironment have paved the way to the development of innovative immunotherapeutic strategies. In the context of Translational Research, this topic will comprise three specific aims which concur to the possible clinical applications. Proposals will have to cover at least one of the specific areas listed under each aim below. Projects should be built from a solid and established hypothesis and should be relevant with regards to the possible improvements in clinical practices.

Aim 1: Identification and validation of shared or personalized mutated human tumor antigenic targets.

· Application of “omics” approaches for the identification and validation of immunogenic mutated epitopes in primary and/or metastatic, synchronous as well as metachronous tumor lesions.

· Development of ex-vivo and/or in vivo models to be established starting from patients samples for screening immunogenicity and efficacy of personalized vaccines targeting mutated epitopes.

Aim 2: Development of new and combined immunotherapeutic strategies for cancer patients.

· Development of new vaccine formulations for active immunotherapies, including DNA, RNA vaccines, viral vectors as well as heterologous prime-boost combinations.

· Development of combined therapeutic approaches including the above antigen-targeting immunotherapies with immune compensating therapies based on irradiation, metronomic chemotherapy and/or anti-immune checkpoint inhibitors and/or adoptive T cell therapies with genetically engineered T cells.

· Development of interventions directed to counteract the role of tumor microenvironment in immune escape and immune evasion.

Aim 3: Translational research for clinical application of cancer immunotherapy.

· Identification of intratumoral and/or peripheral blood biomarkers predictive of the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies and establishment of bioassays to monitor the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy.

· Implementation of new approaches for patient stratification for clinical trials.

· Design and performance of Phase I and Phase II clinical trials for combined cancer immunotherapy strategies.

· Toxicity: understanding & anticipating toxicity problems linked to cancer immunotherapy.

The following types of research projects are excluded from the call:

Capacity building activities

Translational research has the ambition to remove barriers to multidisciplinary and multi-professional collaboration.

It is envisioned that clinicians, researchers and the operational staff from various sectors (academia, industry, regulatory bodies) will effectively work together to expedite the translation of scientific discoveries to clinical application and to more rapidly fuel research directions with observational or clinical findings. In fact, the complexity of the process requires, at the individual and collective levels, the creation of translational medicine research interfaces/infrastructures.

To reach that goal, TRANSCAN-2 supports capacity building activities for promoting the formation and upgrading of multidisciplinary teams in an integrated process: i) exchange/mobility of individual researchers/professionals in order to bring new expertise to an existing multidisciplinary translational team, and/or ii) recruitment of individual researchers/professionals by a translational research team in order to cover expertise and “know-how” unavailable in the existing team. This type of activities, when present, will be supported within the projects which will be selected for funding under TRANSCAN-2 JTC 2015. Thus, applicants may add an additional part to cover these activities (with an associated separate budget, in compliance with the rules of the respective national/regional funding organisations). These capacity building activities have to be fully coherent with the objectives of the research project, and aimed to strengthening the ability of participating team(s) to perform the work detailed in the project plan as well as to improve, in the long term, the quality and potential of the translational research performed by the team(s).

Depending on the project these activities could be (the following examples are indicative only, and neither exhaustive nor prescriptive): 1) exchanges/mobility of investigators (especially young investigators) between teams and countries participating in the project, 2) short term training of scientists, operational staff, etc., 3) training technical workshop dedicated to relevant aspects of the scientific work planned in the project, 4) short training (1 or few weeks) of several partner teams by one expert, etc.

Activities related to the dissemination of results such as hosting a symposium, conferences etc. are out of the scope of this capacity building activities component.

APPLICATION AND SELECTION PROCESS

TRANSCAN-2 JTC 2015 will be implemented through a two-stage submission procedure: pre-proposals and full proposals. Both pre- and full proposals must be written in English and must be submitted to the JCS by the coordinator through the electronic submission system (http://transcan.cbim.it/) exclusively.

In preparing the proposals, applicants should strictly follow the rules described in this call text and in the document entitled “Guidelines for Applicants”, and use the application forms available on the electronic submission system or on the TRANSCAN website (www.transcanfp7.eu). Applicants should take note of individual national/regional rules, and contact their national/regional contact points for specific questions.

The pre-proposals must be submitted to the electronic submission system no later than the 5th of February 2016, at 16:00 (Central European Time, CET). The information relating to the selected pre-proposals will be communicated to each coordinator by April 2016.

The information provided in the pre-proposal application is binding for the entire application process. Thus, any substantial changes between the pre-proposal and the full proposal (e.g. composition of the consortia, objectives of the project, etc.) must be communicated in advance to the JCS with detailed justification and will only be allowed by the CSC under exceptional circumstances.

The full proposals will have to be submitted to the electronic submission system not later than the 26th of May 2016 at 16:00 (Central European Summer Time, CEST). Please note that full proposals will only be accepted from applicants explicitly invited by the JCS to submit.

The decision on the results of the full proposals evaluation meeting will be communicated to all the (successful and unsuccessful) coordinators in October 2016. The coordinators of the full proposals will receive a summary of the evaluation conclusions in due time.

Applicants may request funding for individual grants according to national/regional rules. Please note that, for applicants from some countries/regions, it may be necessary to submit their proposals and/or other information not only to the JCS, but also to their relevant national/regional funding organisations. Therefore, applicants are strongly advised to check with their national/regional funding organisations for more details (see Call text, Annex 4: National/Regional regulations and contact information.

Based on the time required for the approval process for granting funds to the respective national/regional research groups, individual projects of a research consortium are expected to start in April 2017.

For full details on the call for proposals, please consult the following relevant documents:

PLANNED TIME SCHEDULE


STAGE
DATE
Publication of the JTC 2015 04 December 2015
Opening of electronic submission system for pre-proposals

15 January 2016

Deadline for electronic pre-proposals submission 05 February 2016
Deadline for electronic full proposals submission 26 May 2016
Communication of final evaluation result and funding decision October 2016
Start of funded research projects
April 2017
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New Call


TRANSCAN-2
Second Joint Transnational Call for Proposals (JTC 2015)

Call Text (updated on 2 February)

Guidelines for Applicants

National Contact Points

Pre-proposal Application Form (FACSIMILE)

THIS CALL IS NOW CLOSED

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JTC 2014


TRANSCAN-2
First Joint Transnational Call for Proposals (JTC 2014) Co-funded by the EC

PROJECTS SELECTED FOR FUNDINGn

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