The Brain Tumor Funders’ Collaborative (BTFC) works to identify potential therapies for patients with primary human brain tumors to ultimately increase overall patient survival, increase progression-free patient survival and improve the quality of life of patients affected by a primary brain tumor. Information about the BTFC is available at http://www.braintumorfunders.org/.
The current initiative is informed by a BTFC-hosted workshop and planning meetings. Our understanding of immunotherapy for human cancer has evolved significantly over the past 20 years to the point where certain types of cancer have shown meaningful and durable responses to immune-based therapies. For example, melanoma has proven to respond very well to immunotherapy, as have certain blood-borne cancers. Immunotherapy for human brain tumors, on the other hand, is proving more difficult; a better understanding of the complex dynamics among the constituents comprising the neuro-immune system, the tumor, and the brain is required.
To this end, the BTFC is prepared to sponsor research on the role of the neuro-immune system in the origin and progression of the immune responses in primary human brain tumors with the hope of developing immunotherapies for treatment of these tumors in patients. This Request for Pre-proposals focuses on supporting studies on the immune responses in primary brain tumors in pediatric and/or adult human patients.
Background and Rationale
Attempts to use the immune system to control neoplastic disease have a long history. Success has been elusive, but the recent convergence of new techniques in molecular biology, genetic sequencing and RNA/DNA mapping have set the stage for a better understanding of immune mechanisms and their relationship to cancer cells.
Our knowledge of primary brain tumors has similarly expanded in the last decade. This has led to an updated categorization of brain tumors by the World Health Organization (WHO 2016) using, for example, molecular markers such as IDH, 1p/19q for glial tumors and Wnt and SHH activation and TP53 mutational status for medulloblastoma. A better understanding of how low grade glial tumors (WHO Grade II) progress to their more aggressive high grade counterparts (WHO Grade III and WHO Grade IV or glioblastoma) is also emerging and the question remains how the immune system may be influencing or be affected by this process.
A number of immune strategies have been used to explore therapeutic possibilities for primary human brain tumors. These include adoptive T-cell immunotherapy, oncolytic viruses, gene transfer therapy, dendritic cell vaccines, peptide vaccines and checkpoint blockade. However, problems with these therapies have become apparent due to “immunologic escape,” “hot versus cold tumors,” and unacceptable toxicities, to name a few.
To further its aims, the BTFC is considering supporting a small number of multi-disciplinary team-based projects. Teams should represent the requisite skills to carry out the proposed research including clinical oncology, tumor biology, neuro-immunology, computational modelling, and data science. Other areas of immunotherapy research may also be entertained such as radiation-induced brain tumors in survivors of childhood cancers who received cranio-spinal radiation for their original cancer (leukemias or medulloblastoma).
The BTFC is interested in gaining a better understanding of these immune mechanisms as they apply to human brain tumors of any grade in pediatric and adult populations. Characterization across more than one tumor type, therapeutic approach, and age group are of interest. Potential areas of exploration include, but are not limited to:
Submission of Pre-proposal
The BTFC is using a pre-proposal process. Following review of pre-proposals, a limited number of full proposals will be invited for funding consideration. Pre-proposals should provide a concise, yet thorough summary of project goals and methodology, and a description of the proposed collaborative network. The narrative should be written with understandable, jargon-free language as the proposal will be read and reviewed by external advisors, some of whom may have experience with similar studies from non CNS-tumor populations.
Completed pre-proposals must be submitted electronically via the BTFC website www.braintumorfunders.org as a single PDF file and must contain all required information. Pre-proposals are due on Friday, May 11, 2018. Pre-proposals that do not conform to the guidelines will be rejected without review.
Include the following information in this order:
Use this template or create one that includes the same requested information.
The Sponsoring Grantee Institution must be a U.S. non-profit institution with IRS 501(c)(3) status or equivalent Canadian institution or a state university.
The project manager must have a doctoral degree, including MD, PhD, DrPH, DO or equivalent and hold a full-time faculty appointment with the Sponsoring Grantee Institution. The project manager is the person responsible for communication with the BTFC, and is considered the principal investigator.
Name, title, institution, and a few sentences describing the expertise and role(s) of each member.
No more than 10 references to relevant publications may be listed.
Do not include appendices or other attachments.
Figures and tables should be used judiciously, and the accompanying legends should be brief.
The intent is that the funds are to be fully expended over three years in support of this research. The BTFC has accelerating progress as its goal and intends for its funds to be used to move the field forward in the near-term. Please do not propose projects that are not ready to ramp up quickly. The BTFC does not intend for projects to extend via no cost extensions. Requests for extensions will be considered on a case-by-case basis and are not guaranteed. The BTFC will not provide institutional indirect or overhead costs.
Pre-proposals will be scientifically reviewed by a panel of experts in consultation with the members of the BTFC based on the following criteria:
Following successful review of pre-proposals, selected collaborative teams will be invited to submit a full proposal. Guidelines for preparing full proposals will be issued at that time.
For questions, submit an email to email@example.com.
|March 15, 2018||RFP Announced and Advertised|
|May 11, 2018||Pre-proposals due no later than 17:00 CDT (22:00 UTC)|
|June 15, 2018||Invitations to submit full proposals will be issued|
|July 13, 2018||Full proposals due no later than 17:00 CDT (22:00 UTC)|
|July – August 2018||Advisory Panel Review|
|September 2018||Notification and decisions|
|November 2018||BTFC announces awards|
|January 2019||Earliest anticipated start date|
Frequently Asked Questions
For-profit businesses cannot be the sponsoring institution
Managing subcontracts is the responsibility of the project manager’s institution
Use your best judgement
No, within reason
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org