Opportunity for Mechanistic Research in Cancer Immunotherapy

Funding News Edition: June 01, 2022
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Inflammatory and autoimmune adverse events currently limit the use of various immunotherapy regimens in cancer patients. If your research could build foundational knowledge to improve strategies to predict, prevent, or ameliorate toxicities that arise as a consequence of immunotherapeutic regimens, apply through the notice of special interest (NOSI) Understanding the Basic Mechanisms of Immune-related Adverse Events (irAEs) in Cancer Immunotherapy.

The NOSI solicits research on the mechanisms of immune or autoimmune pathways that could be applied to improving immunotherapeutic approaches while simultaneously eliminating or reducing the severity of inflammatory or autoimmune responses. Secondary priorities include enhancing the target specificity of immunotherapeutic reagents and identifying predictive immunophenotypes of cancer patients at risk for developing irAEs.

NIAID is one of several NIH institutes participating in the NOSI. Our specific areas of research interest include the following:

  • Understanding regulatory, signaling, or other pathways modulated by immunotherapy that leads to autoimmunity
  • Identifying tolerance pathways that could be exploited to prevent autoimmunity resulting from adverse events caused by immunotherapy
  • Regulating "off-target" non-specific inflammatory and autoimmune responses while using checkpoint blockade without impeding anti-tumor immune responses
  • Addressing cancer immunotherapy in patients with underlying autoimmune diseases, including those that disproportionately affect racial and ethnic populations, e.g., Lupus
  • Identifying predictive biomarkers for the onset of irAEs (e.g., genetics, epigenetics, microbiome, and overall immune status)

Conversely, NIAID will consider nonresponsive applications proposing:

  • Projects solely focused on developing biomarkers for patient stratification and predicting treatment outcomes
  • Patient cohort studies for treatment outcomes
  • Clinical development of therapies for irAEs with well-understood mechanisms

Lastly, note that the NOSI encourages studies focused on mechanisms of irAEs for both adult and pediatric cancers.

How To Apply

As with all NOSIs, to apply you’ll choose an appropriate funding opportunity announcement (FOA) and write the NOSI’s number in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4B) of the SF 424 R&R form. This NOSI’s number is NOT-CA-22-063.

The NOSI itself includes a long list of FOAs through which you may apply as well as the institutes that participate in each. NIAID will accept applications for this NOSI through the following four FOAs:

The NOSI does not set limits on the budget or project period you may propose; instead, you should defer to the caps set by the FOA through which you apply.

Similarly, the NOSI does not have its own due dates; you’ll follow the due dates that correspond to the FOA you choose.

If you have any questions, reach out to Dr. Jeffrey Rice, NIAID’s scientific contact for the NOSI, at ricejs@niaid.nih.gov or 240-627-3552.

Contact Us

Email us at deaweb@niaid.nih.gov for help navigating NIAID’s grant and contract policies and procedures.

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