Another Successful Year for the AACR Grants Program

The Grants Dinner at the 2015 AACR Annual Meeting. Photo by © AACR/Todd Buchanan.
The Grants Dinner at the 2015 AACR Annual Meeting. Photo by © AACR/Todd Buchanan.

For AACR’s grants program, 2015 was indeed a successful year to reflect upon. Among many highlights, 2015 saw the forging of new relationships with funding partners such as Bayer and the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, expansion of the AACR Basic Cancer Research Fellowship Program, the launch of a brand new funding mechanism for early-career investigators, and the selection of five new Dream Teams through our partnership with Stand Up To Cancer.

AACR, in partnership with 15 different organizations representing private foundations and industry, awarded more than 50 research grants in 2015. These grants include projects focused on leukemia and lymphoma, as well as cancers of the colon, stomach, breast, ovary, kidney, lung, and pancreas. Additionally, two grantees from the 2015 class are focused on childhood cancers, and several other grantees are studying the molecular, cellular, and genetic underpinnings of tumor development and progression that are common to many types of cancer. These grants, which represent every aspect of cancer research from basic science to clinical trials, totaled more than $60 million in crucial funds for more than 100 scientists.

Nine of the grants awarded in 2015 went to postdoctoral fellows as part of the AACR Basic Cancer Research Fellowship Program. This is the largest number of basic fellowships ever awarded by the AACR in a single year, thanks to the generous support of AACR members, as well as relationships with new and existing partners. We will build upon this success in 2016 and hopefully continue to increase the number of fellowships awarded to meritorious young researchers.

AACR Past President Carlos Arteaga, MD, with AACR Basic Cancer Fellowship Recipient Laurent Fattet, PhD, at the 2015 AACR Annual Meeting. Photo by © AACR/Todd Buchanan.
AACR Past President Carlos Arteaga, MD, with AACR Basic Cancer Fellowship Recipient Laurent Fattet, PhD, at the 2015 AACR Annual Meeting. Photo by © AACR/Todd Buchanan.

In addition to these fellowships, 2016 will usher in an exciting year for our support of early-career researchers through the AACR grants program. For example, the inaugural class of AACR NextGen Grants for Transformative Cancer Research, a new funding mechanism championed by AACR Past President Carlos Arteaga, MD, will be selected. Likewise, Stand Up to Cancer Innovative Research Grants will be awarded in 2016 for the first time in five years. It is anticipated that ten recipients will be awarded through this mechanism. Through these two programs alone, AACR is expected to award more than $9 million in researching funding in 2016.

We are excited to embark on the coming year and the continued growth of our grants program. We also look forward to witnessing the scientific progress made by our current and former grantees, as well as celebrating our newest class of 2016 grantees, in New Orleans during the AACR Annual Meeting.

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