Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy: Grants for STEM Higher Education

 

OVERVIEW: The Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy Foundation (ACGT) focuses exclusively on supporting 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 are based in institutions of higher education. Research areas, award amounts, and other specifics vary year to year.

IP TAKE: ACGT’s niche awards are substantial in size, but highly competitive. But if your research is focused on finding new means for treating some of the world’s most persistent and deadly diseases, this funder should not be overlooked.

PROFILE: Now well into its second decade, 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 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 after 11 years battling the disease. Although Edward Netter passed away in 2011, Barbara is still active in the foundation, serving as president of the board of directors.

Today, the foundation’s mission is “to support the extraordinary potential offered by cell and gene-based therapies to accelerate effective and safe treatment of all types of cancer.”

To that end, the foundation throws its weight behind a small number of researchers (usually one to three awards annually in recent years) from the pool who respond to its yearly call for research grant proposals. Awardees have received anywhere from $250,000 to $1.5 million in research support, and the foundation states that it has distributed more than $25 million in awards to date.

The 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.

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.”

Depending on the year, funding eligibility may or may not be restricted to investigators working in educational institutions, which will also directly impact your chances of getting support from ACGT.

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