PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is extremely pleased to announce the launch of a new partnership with AstraZeneca and its global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, which will help foster the next generation of cancer research scientists and stimulate innovative research in the areas of DNA Damage Response in cancer (DDR) and Immuno-Oncology (IO). This creative new funding opportunity, which is made possible by a grant of $2.9 million from AstraZeneca, will provide support for 12 meritorious postdoctoral or clinical research fellows between 2018 and 2023.
“Early-career investigators are absolutely vital to future progress against cancer,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR. “The AACR is thrilled to be partnering with AstraZeneca to offer these young scientists such an exciting new opportunity to conduct groundbreaking research in both the academic and industry settings. This unique training experience will clearly lead to major advances for the benefit of cancer patients around the world, while at the same time provide these future leaders in the field with a broader perspective on the conduct of drug discovery research and state-of-the-art clinical trials.”
The six AACR-AstraZeneca Stimulating Therapeutic Advancements through Research Training (START) Fellowships will support research focused on DDR in cancer, and the six AACR-AstraZeneca-MedImmune Clinical Immuno-Oncology Research Training Fellowships will support early-stage and late-stage clinical IO research by physician-scientists. These Fellowships represent new approaches to mentored research training by providing postdoctoral and clinical fellows opportunities to blend research experiences in both academic settings and at AstraZeneca and MedImmune under the guidance of a dedicated industry mentor.
“We’re proud to partner with the American Association of Cancer Research and prestigious academic centers across the United States to foster development, mentorship, and collaboration with the best and brightest postdoctoral and clinical fellows studying DNA Damage Response and Immuno-Oncology,” said Dr. Susan Galbraith, head of oncology, IMED Biotech Unit, AstraZeneca. “We believe this investment in talented researchers will spur further advancements in these exciting areas of medical science and lead to more innovative cancer treatments for patients. AstraZeneca is committed to following the science that will one day eliminate cancer as a cause of death.”
The grant term for both opportunities will begin on July 1, 2018. The deadline for submission is Friday, May 4, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (ET).
Proposals submitted for the AACR-AstraZeneca START Fellowships should focus on the DDR response in cancer, including the mechanisms of action, as well as mechanism of resistance, of DDR inhibitors; patient selection and biomarkers for DDR inhibitors; and interactions between DDR and the immune response that could yield opportunities for combination therapy.
Applications will be accepted from postdoctoral or clinical research fellows within one to three years of receiving their terminal degree. Over the course of the three-year grant term, applicants will be expected to spend two years conducting research at an academic institution, and one year working at an AstraZeneca facility. The research year on-site at AstraZeneca will be determined on a case-by-case basis, at a time mutually agreed upon by the grant recipient and AstraZeneca.
The AACR-AstraZeneca-MedImmune Clinical Research Training Fellowships in IO will provide an opportunity to gain experience in clinical trial design, protocol development, and data analysis. Fellows will be given the opportunity to focus on understanding drug development challenges in early-stage and late-stage IO, such as understanding potential predictors of response to IO therapies, identifying early response endpoints, and developing optimal trial design methods for evaluating a large number of novel IO-IO and IO-standard-of-care combinations while identifying promising combinations. Eligible applicants must have a completed residency and matriculated into an accredited clinical hem/oncology fellowship program that offers a research year, where they will be afforded at least 12 months to conduct a research project or participate in a research training program.
Applicants should expect to spend their research year on-site at the AstraZeneca facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland. If the recipients are required to perform a certain number of hours of clinic duty during the research year, AstraZeneca will work with the recipient to identify local hospitals where clinic requirements can be met.
The recipients will be recognized at the AACR Annual Meeting 2019, to be held March 30-April 3 in Atlanta.
Applications must be submitted by 1 p.m. ET, May 4, 2018, using the proposalCENTRAL website. Further details are available online. Additional inquiries may be directed to the AACR’s Scientific Review and Grants Administration department, at firstname.lastname@example.org.