Global 'Cancer Grand Challenges' initiative outlines nine toughest challenges to tackling the disease

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Cancer Cancer research uk Patient centricity solid tumor T-cell receptor Obesity

A research initiative co-led by Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Institute announces funding to tackle core challenges in cancer treatment.

The two organizations will provide capital to teams looking to tackle some of the nine challenges outlined by the initiative. The teams applying for funding will be eligible to receive up to $25m (€23.6m), as part of the ‘Cancer Grand Challenges’ scheme.

According to Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and the US National Cancer Institute (NCI), the challenges outlined cannot be solved by any individual scientist, institution, or country, and instead require international cooperation.

The organizations list the nine challenges as follows:

  1. Solid tumors in children:​ Develop therapeutics to target oncogenic drivers of solid tumors in children
  2. Cancer inequities​: Understand the mechanisms through which genetics, biology, and social determinants affect cancer risk and outcomes in diverse populations to motivate interventions to reduce cancer inequities
  3. Obesity, physical activity and cancer:​ Determine the mechanisms through which obesity and physical activity influence cancer risk
  4. Aging and cancer:​ Decipher the functional basis underlying the association between aging somatic tissues and cancer
  5. T-cell receptors:​ Decipher the T-cell receptor cancer-recognition code
  6. Early-onset cancers:​ Determine why the incidence of early-onset cancers in adults is rising globally
  7. Cancer cell plasticity:​ Understand cancer cell plasticity and its contribution to the development of pan-therapeutic resistance in cancer
  8. Retrotransposable elements:​ Understand the roles of retrotransposable elements in cancer
  9. Chemotherapy-induced neurotoxicities:​ Understand and prevent chemotherapy-induced neurotoxicity and neuropathy

The Cancer Grand Challenges proposes new issues to face in cancer every two years by inviting the global research community, patient advocates, and people affected by cancer to submit their views on the greatest obstacles facing cancer treatment.

The deadline for teams to apply for funding as part of the imitative is June 22, 2023, with shortlisted teams being announced in August 2023. Finally, in March 2024, the successful teams will receive funding.

“Advances in cancer research are driven by scientific creativity and collaboration, two core tenets of Cancer Grand Challenges,” said Dinah Singer, NCI Deputy Director for Scientific Strategy and Development. “Our investment and support of these new challenges is built on the principle that by uniting a global research community, we will make progress against cancer that the world urgently needs.”

According to the partners, to date, $270m has been invested to support cross-discipline efforts to advance cancer research. This has involved providing 11 teams funding, with over 700 investigators and collaborators, and 10 countries being represented. The initiative first began its work in 2020.

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