Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy: Grants for Science Education

OVERVIEW: The Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy Foundation (ACGT) exclusively supports research for cancer management and treatment through cell and gene therapy. Consequently, 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 grants are substantial in size, but highly competitive. Research funded by ACGT must be conducted in the United States or Canada.

PROFILE: The Alliance for Gene Cancer Therapy Foundation 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 and serves as honorary chair of the board. ACGT seeks “to support the extraordinary potential offered by cell and gene-based therapies to accelerate effective and safe treatment of all types of cancer.” The foundation funds both Young Investigator and Clinical Translation grants.

The foundation funds a small number of researchers from the pool who respond to its yearly call for research grant proposals. ACGT awards as few as one to three grants annually, and grantees receive anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000 in research funding over two to three years. The foundation states that it has distributed more than $25 million in awards to date.

Award amounts, grant duration, and other criteria change yearly, so grantseekers should 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 Research 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 be restricted to investigators working in educational institutions, which will also directly impact grantseekers chances of getting support from ACGT.