Third call for proposals launched under TRANSCAN on December 4th, 2013
The TRANSCAN network is pleased to announce its third transnational call to fund multinational research projects under the theme of:
"Translational research on tertiary prevention in cancer patients"
The following seventeen funding organisations from fifteen countries within the European Research Area have come together to support this third call for proposals:
- Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Austria
- ARC French Foundation for Cancer Research (ARC Foundation), France
- Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany
- The Chief Scientist Office of the Ministry of Health (CSO-MOH), Israel
- Ministry of Health (MoH), Italy
- Latvian Academy of Sciences (LAS), Latvia
- Dutch Cancer Society (DCS), The Netherlands
- The Research Council of Norway (RCN), Norway
- Norwegian Cancer Society (NCS), Norway
- National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR), Poland
- Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), Portugal
- Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAS), Slovakia
- Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (MIZS), Slovenia
- National Institute of Health Carlos III (ISCIII), Spain
- The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK), Turkey
The call will be conducted simultaneously by the seventeen funding organisations in their respective countries.
The Italian Ministry of Health (Ministero della Salute, MoH) and the National Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità, ISS) will act as Joint Call Secretariat (JCS) to coordinate the application and selection process of JTC 2013.
AIM OF THE CALL
Cancer control aims to reduce incidence, morbidity and mortality of malignancies and to improve the quality of life in cancer patients. Prevention provides the most cost-effective long-term strategies for cancer control, particularly when the related interventions are placed within larger programs oriented towards chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Therefore, the development of novel, highly specific and increasingly effective tools and strategies for the prevention of cancer represents a major challenge for translational cancer research. In particular, reducing the risk of cancer recurrence and ensuring cancer survivors a good quality of life represent goals of utmost importance for patients, health care providers and health care systems in terms of allocations of public funds.
The above mentioned objectives constitute the pillars of the tertiary prevention of cancer.
Research on tertiary prevention can be directly translated into the clinic and provide urgently needed evidence-based guidelines on what cancer patients can do themselves to combat their cancer. An interdisciplinary approach linking health behaviours with biomarkers of recurrence holds the potentials to orient towards individually tailored prevention strategies.
There are gaps in research on the tertiary prevention of cancer that need to be urgently filled with respect to: the assessment of the impact of cancer patients’ health behaviours after diagnosis and treatment on clinical outcomes, with particular regard to the association of health behaviours with molecular markers and tumour characteristics; assessment of the impact of co-morbidities on cancer patients clinical outcomes; understanding of the mechanisms underlying cancer recurrence and metastatic process; identification of tools and strategies to prevent cancer recurrence and to minimise the consequences of cancer-related disabilities or loss of functionalities.
The third call of TRANSCAN focuses on: “Translational research on tertiary prevention in cancer patients”
JTC 2013 has three specific aims, and proposals must cover at least one of the specific topics listed below, which are equal in relevance for this call. Studies will be focused on at least one of the following categories of cancer patients, i.e. of individuals who had received a histologically/cytologically–confirmed cancer diagnosis: 1. Cancer patients with no evidence of disease (NED) for less than 5 years; 2. Cancer patients with evidence of disease; 3. Cancer survivors, i.e. cancer patients free from disease for at least 5 years. It is important to note that, when applicable, the observational studies mentioned below, must be conducted in cohorts of cancer patients and, when applicable, must be based on bio-specimens collected at repeated time points (before, during and after treatment) and stored in quality-assured biobanks, and must be linked to the patients’ clinical data.
Aim 1: Assessment of the impact of health behaviours on clinical outcomes in cancer patients
• Development of tools to assess health behaviours and validation against biomarkers among cancer patients and survivors, focusing on key health behaviours linked to prognosis (e.g. diet, including nutritional supplements, physical activity, smoking, alcohol intake). Particular emphasis will be on the development of tools using novel technologies (e.g. web-based tools, Smartphones), or novel assessment devices (e.g. ActiGraph).
• Observational studies evaluating health behaviours in relation to clinical cancer outcomes, including treatment efficacy (e.g. objective response, symptom improvement and survival) and toxicity. Priority will be given to studies combining health behaviours with biologic measurements, such as biomarkers from post-diagnostic bio-specimens (e.g. blood, urine), aimed at elucidating the underlying biologic mechanisms.
• Observational studies focused on the characterization of mechanisms linking health behaviours to cancer progression and prognosis.
• Clinical trials (not lasting longer than 3 years) testing the effects of health behaviours modifications on cancer-related clinical outcomes and biomarkers
Aim 2: Optimisation of the quality of life of cancer patients
• Observational studies aimed at identifying and/or validating the molecular mechanisms of the long-term side effects of cancer treatments (e.g. cardiotoxicity, infertility, pain).
• Phase I-II clinical trials aimed at reducing disabilities or restoring functionalities caused or lost due to a previous cancer or anticancer treatment, by means of palliative and supportive therapies and dose de-escalation strategy.
• Observational studies testing the influence of co-morbidities on cancer patients’ clinical outcomes, including survival.
Aim 3: Prevention of recurrence and second cancer
• Observational studies aimed at identifying and/or validating the genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms of the metastatic process (e.g. cellular adhesion, migration, circulating cells, angiogenesis, inflammation, and immune response-related mechanisms) in patients without evidence of disease.
• Observational studies aimed at identifying and/or validating biomarkers of tumour recurrence in cancer patients without evidence of disease, including: i) markers expressed in tumour or tumour-surrounding cells, ii) systemic (including immunological) markers.
• Observational studies aimed at assessing the effectiveness of innovative, cost-effective and with marginal toxicity interventions designed to prevent tumour recurrence and/or second cancer.
• Early phase clinical studies aimed at assessing the effectiveness of innovative and low toxicity interventions designed to prevent tumour recurrence and/or second cancer. Eligible patients will be cancer patients with no evidence of disease on study entry (after completion of therapy), but with a high risk of disease recurrence and/or second cancer and for whom preventive interventions of proven efficacy do not currently exist. These interventional approaches should aim at restoring or potentiating the natural patients’ defences against tumour recurrence and/or second cancer, giving high priority to cost-effective approaches potentially capable of reducing the risk while minimizing undesirable side effects. Within these studies the identification of molecular/cellular biomarkers of efficacy will be favourably considered.
APPLICATION AND SELECTION PROCESS
There will be a two-stage submission procedure for joint applications: pre-proposals and full proposals. Both types of proposals must be written in English and must be submitted electronically to the JCS by the coordinator. Pre-proposals and full proposals should strictly follow the rules described in the Guidelines for Applicants. To apply, please use the appropriate Pre-proposal Application Form.
Pre-proposals must be submitted exclusively through the electronic submission system PT-Outline by the deadline of 3 February 2014 at 17:00 (Central European Time, CET). All proposals will be subject to a peer-review and a joint decision process of the funding organisations involved.
Successful applicants from the pre-proposal stage will be invited to submit their full proposals not later than 10 June 2014 at 17:00 (Central European Summer Time, CEST). Please note that full proposals will only be accepted from applicants explicitly invited by the JCS.
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 Annex 1. Contact information of the National/Regional Funding Organisations, Guidelines for Applicants).
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 2015.
PLANNED TIME SCHEDULE
Publication of the JTC 2013: 4 December 2013
Opening of electronic submission system for pre-proposals: 2 January 2014
Deadline for electronic pre-proposals submission: 3 February 2014
Opening of electronic submission system for full proposals: 5 May 2014
Deadline for electronic full proposals submission: 10 June 2014
Communication of final evaluation result and funding decision: October 2014
Start of funded research projects: April 2015