NIH – Inter-organelle Communication in Cancer (R01, R21)

March 10, 2017 by School of Medicine Webmaster

The following description was taken from the R01 version of this FOA.

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to support research projects that examine how inter-organelle communication in cancer cells and/or tumor-associated cells affects cellular function, adaptation, and phenotypic plasticity. This emerging area promotes the concept that organelle networks coordinate oncogenic or tumor suppressive pressures that influence cell behaviors.

This FOA is suitable for projects where proof-of-principle of the proposed technology or methodology has already been established and supportive preliminary data are available. This FOA runs in parallel with an FOA of identical scientific scope, PAR-17-205 which utilizes the Exploratory/Developmental Grant (R21) mechanism.


Studies from basic cell biology and other diseases demonstrate the existence of a highly dynamic system for bidirectional communication among the cell’s network of mitochondria, the nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, peroxisomes, lysosomes, Golgi apparatus, and other organelles that dictate cellular behaviors.  The degree to which inter-organelle communication may account for a range of phenotypic behaviors associated with cells in solid tumors as they encounter diverse stresses, such as mutation, hypoxia, tissue environment, or therapeutics, has not been systematically examined.  Multiple lines of evidence show that many of the most salient characteristics of cancer (proliferation, adaptation and survival) involve information transfer processes that are dependent on organelle interconnectivity; however, our basic mechanistic understanding of these and patterns remains in its infancy.  Little information exists on how cancer therapies impact inter-organelle communication and the development of drug resistance, which represents an emerging opportunity for mechanistic study.

Research Objectives and Scope

The primary goal of this FOA is to stimulate basic research that will address our knowledge gaps and technical limitations in studying inter-organelle communication and crosstalk in cancer.

Descriptive versus Hypothesis driven Aims

Cancer may involve processes that either dysregulate or exploit new dimensions of organelle biology that have not yet been described.  Therefore, it is anticipated that applications to this FOA may contain some level of descriptive science framed in the context of an overall cancer biology hypothesis.

Technology Development

Applications that leverage novel tools or technologies that advance resolution, quantification, measurement, and/or manipulation of inter-organelle communication to inform novel cancer biology hypothesis are of high programmatic priority.

Basic versus Translational Aims

It is anticipated that applicants may propose to use basic model systems or non-human organisms to elucidate mechanistic cancer research questions on inter-organelle communication.  While applications may have aims that illustrate translational potential, an emphasis on clinical translation is not a requirement for this FOA.

Deadlines:  August 16, 2017; January 17, 2018; August 15, 2018; January 16, 2019; August 14, 2019; January 15, 2020 (full proposals; letters of intent are due 30 days prior)


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities