Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy: Grants for Science Research

OVERVIEW: The Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy Foundation (ACGT) exclusively funds research for cancer management and treatment through cell and gene therapy. To that end, it awards research grants to individual researchers in the U.S. and Canada, many of whom work in academia.

IP TAKE: ACGT’s niche awards are substantial, but highly competitive. Grantseekers focused on finding new means for treating some of the world’s most persistent and deadly diseases should consider this funder.

PROFILE: Founded in 2001, the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy Foundation (ACGT) bills itself as “the nation's only nonprofit dedicated exclusively to cell and gene therapies for cancer.” ACGT seeks to “support revolutionary scientific research into the causes, treatment and prevention of all types of cancer using cells and genes as medicine.” ACGT was founded by the late Edward Netter and his wife Barbara in honor of their first daughter-in-law, Kimberly Lawrence-Netter, who died in 2001 from breast cancer. Although Edward Netter passed in 2011, Barbara is still active in the foundation, and serves as president of the board of directors. The foundation supports a small number of researchers (usually one to three awards annually) who respond to its yearly call for research grant proposals.

Alliance funds research specifically addresses various cancers. However, the foundation’s focus area in terms of specific cancer, award amount, duration of the grant (single or multi-year) and other criteria changes yearly, so grantseekers will need to check the site at the beginning of each grant cycle to determine whether their research area qualifies for funding. Past awardees are listed on the foundation’s Fellows page. Awardees receive anywhere from $250,000 to $1.5 million in research support.

Vetting of applications starts with the foundation’s Scientific Advisory Council, a group of volunteer “preeminent physicians and researchers in cell and gene therapy” who “establish the scientific criteria for review of all grants and…[give] recommendations for funding to the Board of Directors for final selection of award recipients.”

At times, the foundation restricts funding eligibility to investigators who work in educational institutions; this can directly impact grantseekers chances of getting support from ACGT.

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