This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) supports the development of cancer-relevant technologies suitable for use in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Specifically, the FOA solicits applications for projects to adapt, apply, and validate existing or emerging technologies into a new generation of user-friendly, low-cost technologies for preventing, detecting, diagnosing, and/or treating cancers in people living in LMICs.
Applicants should have a working assay or device prototype (not necessarily already capable of cancer applications). The U01 project includes studies to both adapt this technology as well as demonstrate technical functionality and clinical performance for use of the device or assay in specific LMIC settings by meeting objective performance milestones followed by improvements and validations of the technologies in the LMIC settings. Projects proposed in response to this FOA will require multidisciplinary efforts to succeed; therefore, all applicant teams must include expertise in engineering/assay/treatment development, oncology, global healthcare delivery, and business development. Investigators responding to this FOA must consider affordability and cost-effectiveness as well as usability at the point-of-need as part of their design criteria.
This funding opportunity is part of a broader NCI-sponsored Affordable Cancer Technologies (ACTs) Program.
It is estimated that more than two-thirds of the 9.5 million annual cancer deaths in the world occur in LMICs. Furthermore, the incidence rate of cancer is on the rise in populations of many LMICs, with substantial inequalities in cancer survival rates across the world. Access to cancer prevention, screening, detection, diagnosis, and treatment is a significant challenge in many LMICs, especially in areas with limited infrastructure.
Prevention, early detection, and treatment are vital to successful cancer control. Unfortunately, many established cancer control technologies are not suitable for use in low-resource settings, either globally or in the U.S., due to expense, dependency on extensive medical infrastructure, or both.
Many leading edge, innovative technologies, such as lab-on-a-chip, portable ablative devices, portable imaging modalities, and liquid biopsies have potential for use in LMICs. Recent developments in consumer electronics, microfabrication, cellular phone communications, and hand-held computers have further improved prospects for adaptation into sensitive, low-cost versions suitable for use in low-resource settings. Additionally, various existing portable technologies and minimally invasive diagnostic/treatment methods might be suitable for low-resource settings.
The ACTs program supports resource-appropriate translational technology research for cancer where affordability and potential impact in low-resource settings are essential design components. Furthermore, technologies supported through the ACTs program are validated in real-world health settings in LMICs, leading to the promise of additional innovations (e.g., enable use by minimally trained health workers, appropriate for use at the clinical point-of-need, and allow robust adaptability to diverse environmental conditions and health systems). Lastly, the technologies advanced through the ACTs program may not only be relevant for LMICs but may additionally provide invaluable insights and tools appropriate for addressing cancer disparities domestically (i.e. urban and/or rural disparities).
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Filed Under: Funding Opportunities