Availability of research funds for NCI’s Provocative Questions project announced

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  • Posted: September 13, 2011
NCI Press Office


NCI’s Provocative Questions project has announced that it is now seeking applications from researchers eager to influence the state of cancer research by tackling potentially game-changing, but perplexing, scientific questions that could drive progress against cancer. The grants will support research projects using sound and innovative research strategies to solve specific problems and paradoxes in cancer research. The questions meet several objectives: they build on specific advances in our understanding of cancer and cancer control; they address broad issues in the biology of cancer that have proven difficult to resolve; they take into consideration the likelihood of progress in the foreseeable future; and they address ways to overcome obstacles.

No one question takes precedence over any other, although a few examples help give a flavor of the importance of the project.  One example from the 24 questions selected is “How does obesity contribute to cancer risk?” This particular question is especially vexing because the mechanisms that underlie obesity remain poorly understood, including whether the risks of cancer due to obesity are reversible and, if so, by what mechanism?  Another question is “Are there definable properties of a non-malignant lesion that predict the likelihood of progression to invasive or metastatic disease?” This question is important because uncertainties about the clinical behavior of a non-malignant lesion often leads to more aggressive treatment than may be warranted, which can result in net harm to the patient.  Requests for Applications (RFA) for this project can be viewed at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-CA-11-011.html and http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-CA-11-012.html. The deadline for applications is November 14, 2011.