Part I Overview Information

Department of Health and Human Services

Participating Organizations
National Institutes of Health (NIH), (http://www.nih.gov)

Components of Participating Organizations
National Cancer Institute (NCI), (http://www.cancer.gov)

Title: Diet-Induced Changes in Inflammation as Determinants of Colon Cancer (R21)

Announcement Type
This is a reissue of PA-05-125, which was previously released  June 20, 2005.

Update: The following update relating to this announcement has been issued:

NOTICE: Applications submitted in response to this FOA for Federal assistance must be submitted electronically through Grants.gov (http://www.grants.gov) using the SF424 Research and Related (R&R) forms and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

APPLICATIONS MAY NOT BE SUBMITTED IN PAPER FORMAT.

This FOA must be read in conjunction with the application guidelines included with this announcement in Grants.gov/Apply for Grants (hereafter called Grants.gov/Apply).

A registration process is necessary before submission and applicants are highly encouraged to start the process at least 4 weeks prior to the grant submission date. See Section IV.

Two steps are required for on time submission:

1) The application must be successfully received by Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization) on the submission/receipt date (see “Key Dates” below); and

2) Applicants must complete a verification step in the eRA Commons within 2 business days of notification from NIH. Note: Since e-mail can be unreliable, it is the responsibility of the applicant to periodically check on their application status in the Commons.

Program Announcement (PA) Number: PA-06-283

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number(s)
93.393, 93.396

Key Dates
Release/Posted Date: March 28, 2006
Opening Date: May 2 , 2006 (earliest date an application may be submitted to Grants.gov).
Letters of Intent Receipt Date(s): Not applicable.
Application Submission Date(s): http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward.
AIDS Application Receipt Date(s): http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#AIDS.
Peer Review Date(s): http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward.
Council Review Date(s): http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward.
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#reviewandaward.
Additional Information To Be Available Date (URL Activation Date): Not applicable.
Expiration Date: July 2, 2008 (now September 8, 2008 per NOT-OD-07-093)

Due Dates for E.O. 12372
Not Applicable.

Additional Overview Content

Executive Summary

Inflammation is a natural response of the human body to tissue injury or infection, but can, in some abnormal conditions, be acute or chronic and result in serious complications, including colon cancer. The various checks and balances within the inflammatory process may be compromised by the quantity and duration of the insult, or by a host of genetic and environmental factors including diet. Several epidemiological and pre-clinical studies reveal that specific bioactive food components can suppress colonic inflammation as well as reduce colon cancer risk. Nevertheless, it remains unclear whether these diet-induced shifts in the inflammatory process account for their anti-tumorigenic properties in colon cancer. This FOA is designed to foster innovative research that will identify and characterize diet-induced changes in inflammation and colon cancer risk.

Table of Contents


Part I Overview Information

Part II Full Text of Announcement

Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
1. Research Objectives

Section II. Award Information
1. Mechanism of Support
2. Funds Available

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
    A. Eligible Institutions
    B. Eligible Individuals
2. Cost Sharing or Matching
3. Other - Special Eligibility Criteria

Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Request Application Information
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
3. Submission Dates and Times
    A. Submission Review and Anticipated Start Dates
         1. Letter of Intent
    B. Electronic Transmission of an Application to the NIH
    C. Application Processing
4. Intergovernmental Review
5. Funding Restrictions
6. Other Submission Requirements

Section V. Application Review Information
 1. Criteria
 2. Review and Selection Process
     A. Additional Review Criteria
     B. Additional Review Considerations
     C. Sharing Research Data
     D. Sharing Research Resources
 3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Section VI. Award Administration Information
 1. Award Notices
 2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
 3. Reporting


Section VII. Agency Contact(s)
 1. Scientific/Research Contact(s)
 2. Peer Review Contact(s)
 3. Financial/ Grants Management Contact(s)

Section VIII. Other Information - Required Federal Citations

Part II - Full Text of Announcement


Section I. Funding Opportunity Description


1. Research Objectives

Purpose and background

Colon cancer remains a significant global health concern. It is the third most prevalent form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. The increased risk of developing colon cancer in patients with ulcerative colitis and the observed benefits of anti-inflammatory drugs in retarding intestinal tumors provide rather compelling evidence that inflammation is involved with cancer at this site. Several epidemiological and pre-clinical studies reveal that specific bioactive food components can suppress colonic inflammation as well as reduce colon cancer risk. Nevertheless, it remains unclear whether these diet-induced shifts in the inflammatory process account for their anti-tumorigenic properties. This lack of mechanistic information serves as the basis for this funding opportunity.

Diet and the Inflammatory Process
Inflammation is a normal response to tissue injury or infection, but can escape control and result in serious complications, including cancer. The various checks and balances within the inflammatory process may be compromised by the quantity and duration of the insult, or a host of genetic and environmental factors. Dietary habits are likely one of key determinants of the balance that influences the overall inflammatory process. Genetic polymorphisms at multiple sites may alter this ability of bioactive food components to influence the overall process by modulating pro- and/or anti-inflammatory mediators.

The inflammatory process is initiated by the synthesis and secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines (e.g., tumor necrosis factor- a [TNF-a], interleukin-1 [IL-1], IL-6, IL-12, and ?-interferon in macrophages) in response to an inflammatory insult. The increased production of cytokines and the subsequent elevation in reactive oxygen and nitrogen species are recognized hallmarks of inflammation. This process is regulated by a negative feedback mechanism and closely followed by the secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines (e.g., IL-4, IL-10, and TGF-ß) to reduce the accumulation of reactive species. The cellular antioxidant defense system is also activated to limit the development of chronic inflammation in which the risk for cancer is much higher than normal.

The binding of pro-inflammatory cytokines to their receptors triggers the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway that ultimately results in the activation of two redox-sensitive transcription factors, nuclear factor ?? (NF??) and the c-Jun part of activating protein-1 (AP-1). These transcription factors activate the expression of a wide variety of genes including cytokines, chemokines, adhesion molecules, and inducible effector enzymes such as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cycloxygenase-2 (COX-2). The direct genetic evidence that COX-2 enzyme plays a significant role in colon tumorigenesis arises from the marked reduction in numbers of intestinal polyps occurring in the double mutant mice of COX-2 -/- and Apc?716 as compared with COX-2 wild-type animals. The unchecked activation of NF??/COX-2 and the inactivation of TGF-ß signaling frequently occur in colon tumor cells. These findings suggest that the loss of inflammatory balance between anti- and pro-mediators may precipitate neoplastic transformation in the intestinal epithelium.

Evidence exists that selected dietary components including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), butyrate, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), curcumin, resveratrol, genistein, luteolin, quercetin, and vitamins A and D may influence the inflammatory process at various sites and thus modulate the balance within the process. For example, the concentration of TNF-a and IL-1ß was reduced by more than 70 percent in humans consuming fish-oil rich in EPA and DHA. Likewise, a number of dietary components, including resveratrol in red grapes, CLA in dairy products, butyrate generated through the microbial metabolism of dietary fiber in colon, and curcumin in curry spice, have been reported to suppress the TNF-a induced activation of NF-?B and COX-2 expression in vitro and in vivo. The mechanisms by which these bioactive components influence inflammation are not known with any high degree of clarity, but can involve transport, activation, or inactivation processes. Resveratrol has been shown to inhibit the translocation of NF-?B from the cytoplasm to the nucleus by modulating the I?B kinase (IKK) activity in various cell types including myeloid, lymphoid, and epithelial cells. Other food components, such as curcumin, are recognized to block NF-?B activation. While these findings are intriguing, it remains to be resolved if the effectiveness of these dietary components exists at the site of inflammation in the colon with the concentrations that are physiologically achievable.

Considerably more research is needed to characterize the physiological significance of bioactive food components in inflammatory colonocytes in terms of relative effectiveness, dose-dependence, temporality, consistency, and specificity. Dietary components readily undergo various structural modifications, such as methylation, glucuronidation, or sulfation, and are further digested into small molecular weight metabolites that directly interact with their target molecules. The function and stability of these metabolites are known to be influenced by the cellular redox status. For example, the ability of EGCG to inhibit cell growth is increased in the presence of superoxide dismutase, an enzyme that reduces reactive oxygen species. These changes are especially important in inflammatory sites where a flux of reactive oxygen species removes potentially injurious substances. Knowledge about these variables will help explain under what circumstances dietary components can influence inflammatory processes and who might benefit most from intervention.

Genetic Polymorphisms, Diet, and Colon Cancer Risk

It is well documented that genetic polymorphisms that modulate the utilization of bioactive food components provide important influence on colon cancer risks. For example, a number of studies report that a preventive effect of broccoli on colon cancer was observed only among subjects with the GSTM1 null genotype, suggesting that genetic polymorphisms in GSTM1 genes may contribute to variations in response to cruciferous vegetable intake. Likewise, a polymorphism (677 C à T) in the 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene that is critical in folate metabolism is associated with the increased colon cancer risk in individuals with a marginal folate status. Thus, it is possible that genetic polymorphisms associated with bioactive food components may account for the variation in their ability to modify the inflammatory process.

The production of inflammatory cytokines can vary widely among healthy people due to a number of functional polymorphisms. For example, individuals with TNF-a polymorphisms at nucleotides -238 (G à A), -308 (G à A), -857 (C à T), and -859 (C à T) are associated with increased TNF-a as well as a greater susceptibility to various cancers. Increased TNF-a can be down-regulated, admittedly with considerable variability, by a number of bioactive food components including DHA, EPA, and quercetin. While these findings suggest that genetic polymorphisms in inflammatory mediators can alter the response to dietary components in carcinogenesis, much more information is needed to clarify interrelationships among genetics, diet, and inflammation in colon cancer prevention.

Detectable Phenotypic Changes Associated with Dietary Components in Inflammatory Colon Cancer Cells

Phenotypic changes accompanying a shift in either anti- or pro-inflammatory components as a function of eating behaviors need to be systematically evaluated. Preneoplastic aberrant crypt foci (ACF), c-reactive protein (CRP), adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene mutation, and ß-catenin expression may serve as useful early markers for changes in colon cancer risk. ACF may be used as surrogate biomarkers for detecting cancer preventive effects of anti-inflammatory dietary factors and drugs (including curcumin, selenium, green tea, sulindac, celecoxib, or indomethacin) against colon cancers in pre-clinical models. Recently, it has been reported that the content of ß-catenin or mucin in the ACF is more predictive of colon carcinogenesis than the number and size of the ACF. It remains to be determined if ACF can serve as a marker for the inflammatory alterations induced by dietary constituents.

CRP is an acute-phase protein synthesized in liver and up-regulated by pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6, IL-8, and TNF- a. Elevated levels of serum CRP were associated with the subsequent development of colon cancer. In a recently randomized controlled trial, circulating levels of CRP were shown to be significantly reduced by the consumption of Mediterranean-style diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and olive oil. However, the mechanism by which specific components of this type of diet can reduce CRP is unclear. Undeniably, further research is needed to discover effective biomarkers to assess dietary effects on the inflammation and colon cancer.

Animal Models Help Characterize the Effects of Dietary Components on the Inflammation and Colon Cancer

The recent development of transgenic and knockout mice in IL-10, TGF- ß, iNOS, and SOCS3 genes, and crossing experiments with existing colonic models such as APC?716 or multiple intestinal neoplasia (Min) has expanded our understanding of the role that the inflammatory process plays in colon polyp formation. For example, TGF-ß1 deficiency in mice can lead to colon cancer that is preceded by precancerous lesions having submucosal inflammation and hyperplastic crypts. Similarly, IL-10 knockouts develop spontaneous intestinal colitis and often express COX-2 in regions containing inflammatory cells. The iNOS null mice (iNOS-/-) also manifest an attenuated colitis in response to injury. The appropriate use(s) of these and other animal models should allow us to better understand the physiological targets of diet in various stages of the inflammatory process as well as how these events might be involved with colon cancer risk and tumor behavior.

Objectives and Scope

The goal of this FOA concept is to foster innovative research that will identify and characterize diet-induced changes in inflammation linked with colon cancer risks. This FOA does not encompass epidemiological studies. The purpose of this initiative is to promote research to: 1) identify and characterize diet-induced changes in anti- and pro-inflammatory mediators that modulate colon cancer risk; 2) define genetic polymorphisms that modify the response to specific bioactive food components with regard to colon cancer inhibition; and 3) unravel the physiological effectiveness of dietary components in terms of concentration, activity, duration of exposure, degree of stability, chemical forms, and binding affinity to receptors in inflammatory colonocytes.

Investigators may choose from the full range of preclinical or clinical approaches. The focus should be on defining the physiological significance of diet in modulating inflammatory processes that may be linked to colon cancer development. The use of animal models that have been genetically engineered to influence inflammatory phenotypes in the intestine may be particularly useful for gaining insights into the targets and potential dietary intervention strategies for colon cancer prevention. A variety of genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic technologies may be used. Since inflammatory processes can also be influenced by post-translational mechanisms (e.g., protein-protein interactions, modifications of protein activities through acetylation, phosphorylation, and methylation, degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome mediated pathway), the profiling of proteins and/or metabolites in cells or tissues should provide greater insight into the relevance of dietary treatments to inflammatory processes on colon cancer.

The efficient utilization of molecular resources such as gene, protein, and metabolome databases may be used to expedite research. Bioinformatic approaches may also be necessary to identify patterns of gene, protein, and/or metabolite changes that can generate unique fingerprints for the given dietary treatments. Information about bioinformatics at NCI is available at http://ncicb.nci.nih.gov/.

Research topics that are relevant to this FOA include, but are not limited to, the following examples:

See Section VIII, Other Information - Required Federal Citations for policies related to this announcement.

Section II. Award Information


1. Mechanism of Support

This FOA will use the NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant (R21) award mechanism. As an applicant, you will be solely responsible for planning, directing, and executing the proposed project.

This FOA uses just-in-time concepts. It also uses the modular budget formats (see the “Modular Applications and Awards” section of the NIH Grants Policy Statement. Specifically, if you are submitting an application with direct costs in each year of $250,000 or less (excluding consortium Facilities and Administrative [F&A] costs), use the PHS398 Modular Budget component provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Package and SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (see specifically Section 5.4, “Modular Budget Component,” of the Application Guide).

Exploratory/developmental grant support is for new projects only; competing renewal (formerly “competing continuation”) applications will not be accepted. Up to two resubmissions (formerly “revisions/amendments") of a previously reviewed exploratory/developmental grant application may be submitted. See NOT-OD-03-041, which was published in the NIH Guide on May 7, 2003.

2. Funds Available

Because the nature and scope of the proposed research will vary from application to application, it is anticipated that the size and duration of each award will also vary. Although the financial plans of the NIH Institutes and Centers (ICs) provide support for this program, awards pursuant to this funding opportunity are contingent upon the availability of funds and the submission of a sufficient number of meritorious applications.

The total project period for an application submitted in response to this funding opportunity may not exceed 2 years. Although the size of award may vary with the scope of research proposed, it is expected that applications will stay within the budgetary guidelines for an exploratory/developmental project; direct costs are limited to $275,000 over an R21 2-year period, with no more than $200,000 in direct costs allowed in any single year. Applicants may request direct costs in $25,000 modules, up to the total direct costs limitation of $275,000 for the combined 2-year award period. NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this Program Announcement funding opportunity.

Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs requested by consortium participants are not included in the direct cost limitation.
See NOT-OD-05-004, which was published in the NIH Guide.

Section III. Eligibility Information

1. Eligible Applicants

1.A. Eligible Institutions

You may submit (an) application(s) if your organization has any of the following characteristics:

1.B. Eligible Individuals

Any individual with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

2. Cost Sharing or Matching

Not applicable. This program does not require cost sharing as defined in the current NIH Grants Policy Statement.

3. Other-Special Eligibility Criteria

Applicants may submit more than one application, provided each application is scientifically distinct.

Section IV. Application and Submission Information


Registration and Instructions for Submission via Grants.gov


To download a SF424 (R&R) Application Package and SF424 (R&R) SBIR/STTR Application Guide for completing the SF424 (R&R) forms for this FOA, link to http://www.grants.gov/Apply/ and follow the directions provided on that Web site.

A one-time registration is required for institutions/organizations at both:

PDs/PIs should work with their institutions/organizations to make sure they are registered in the eRA Commons.

Several additional separate actions are required before an applicant institution/organization can submit an electronic application, as follows:

1) Organizational/Institutional Registration in Grants.gov/Get Started.

2) Organizational/Institutional Registration in the eRA Commons

3) Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) Registration in the NIH eRA Commons: Refer to the NIH eRA Commons System (COM) Users Guide.

Note that if a PD/PI is also an NIH peer-reviewer with an Individual DUNS and CCR registration, that particular DUNS number and CCR registration are for the individual reviewer only. These are different than any DUNS number and CCR registration used by an applicant organization. Individual DUNS and CCR registration should be used only for the purposes of personal reimbursement and should not be used on any grant applications submitted to the Federal Government.

Several of the steps of the registration process could take 4 weeks or more. Therefore, applicants should immediately check with their business official to determine whether their institution is already registered in both Grants.gov and the Commons. The NIH will accept electronic applications only from organizations that have completed all necessary registrations.

1. Request Application Information

Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application forms and SF424 (R&R) Application Guide for this FOA through Grants.gov/Apply.

Note: Only the forms package directly attached to a specific FOA can be used. You will not be able to use any other SF424 (R&R) forms (e.g., sample forms, forms from another FOA), although some of the "Attachment" files may be useable for more than one FOA.


For further assistance, contact GrantsInfo; Telephone: 301-435-0714, E-mail: GrantsInfo@nih.gov.

Telecommunications for the hearing impaired: TTY 301-451-5936.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

Prepare all applications using the SF424 (R&R) application forms and in accordance with the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide (MS Word or PDF).

The SF424 (R&R) Application Guide is critical to submitting a complete and accurate application to NIH. There are fields within the SF424 (R&R) application components that, although not marked as mandatory, are required by NIH (e.g., the “Credential” log-in field of the “Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile” component must contain the PD/PI’s assigned eRA Commons User ID). Agency-specific instructions for such fields are clearly identified in the Application Guide. For additional information, see “Tips and Tools for Navigating Electronic Submission” on the front page of “Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”

The SF424 (R &R) application is comprised of data arranged in separate components. Some components are required, others are optional. The forms package associated with this FOA in Grants.gov/APPLY will include all applicable components, required and optional. A completed application in response to this FOA will include the following components:

Required Components:
SF424 (R&R) (Cover component)
Research & Related Project/Performance Site Locations
Research & Related Other Project Information

Research & Related Senior/Key Person
Research & Related Budget
PHS398 Cover Page Supplement
PHS398 Research Plan
PHS398 Checklist
PHS398 Modular Budget

Optional Components:
PHS398 Cover Letter File

Note: While both budget components are included in the SF424 (R&R) forms package, the NIH R21 uses ONLY the PHS 398 Modular Budget. (Do not use the detailed Research & Related Budget.)

Foreign Organizations:
Several special provisions apply to applications submitted by foreign organizations:

Proposed research should provide a unique research opportunity not available in the United States.

3. Submission Dates and Times

See Section IV.3.A for details.

3.A. Submission, Review, and Anticipated Start Dates

Date: May 2, 2006
Letter of Intent Receipt Date: Not applicable.
Application Submission Date(s): http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm
AIDS Application Submission Date(s): http://grants1.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm#AIDS
Peer Review Date(s): http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm
Council Review Date(s): http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm
Earliest Anticipated Start Date(s): http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/submissionschedule.htm

3.A.1. Letter of Intent

A letter of intent is not required for the funding opportunity.

3.B. Electronic Transmission of an Application to the NIH

To submit an application in response to this FOA, applicants should access this FOA via http://www.grants.gov/Apply and follow steps 1-4. Note: Applications must only be submitted electronically.
PAPER APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

3.C. Application Processing

Applications may be submitted on or after the opening date and must be successfully received by Grants.gov no later than 5:00 p.m. local time (of the applicant institution/organization) on the application submission/receipt date(s). (See Section IV.3.A. for all dates.) If an application is not submitted by the receipt date(s) and time, the application may be delayed in the review process or not reviewed.

Upon receipt, applications will be transferred from Grants.gov to the NIH Electronic Research Administration process for validation. Both the PD/PI and the SO for the organization must verify the submission via Commons within 2 business days of notification of the NIH validation.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the Center for Scientific Review, NIH. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

There will be an acknowledgement of receipt of applications from Grants.gov and the Commons. Information related to the assignment of an application to a Scientific Review Group is also in the Commons.

The NIH will not accept any application in response to this FOA that is essentially the same as one currently pending initial merit review unless the applicant withdraws the pending application. The NIH will not accept any application that is essentially the same as one already reviewed. This does not preclude the submission of an application already reviewed with substantial changes, but such application must include an “Introduction” addressing the previous critique. Note such an application is considered a "resubmission" for the SF424 (R&R).

4. Intergovernmental Review

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Pre-Award Costs are allowable. A grantee may, at its own risk and without NIH prior approval, incur obligations and expenditures to cover costs up to 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new award if such costs: are necessary to conduct the project, and would be allowable under the grant, if awarded, without NIH prior approval. If specific expenditures would otherwise require prior approval, the grantee must obtain NIH approval before incurring the cost. NIH prior approval is required for any costs to be incurred more than 90 days before the beginning date of the initial budget period of a new award.

The incurrence of pre-award costs in anticipation of a competing or non-competing award imposes no obligation on NIH either to make the award or to increase the amount of the approved budget if an award is made for less than the amount anticipated and is inadequate to cover the pre-award costs incurred. NIH expects the grantee to be fully aware that pre-award costs result in borrowing against future support and that such borrowing must not impair the grantee's ability to accomplish the project objectives in the approved time frame or in any way adversely affect the conduct of the project. See the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

6. Other Submission Requirements

The NIH requires the PD/PI to fill in his/her Commons User ID in the “PROFILE – Project Director/Principal Investigator” section, “Credential” log-in field of the “Research & Related Senior/Key Person Profile” component. The applicant organization must include its DUNS number in its Organization Profile in the eRA Commons. This DUNS number must match the DUNS number provided at CCR registration with Grants.gov. For additional information, see “Tips and Tools for Navigating Electronic Submission” on the front page of “Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.”

Renewal (formerly “competing continuation” or “Type 2”) applications are not permitted.

All application instructions outlined in the SF424 (R&R) application are to be followed, with the following requirements for R21 applications:

Note: While each section of the Research Plan needs to be uploaded separately as a PDF attachment, applicants are encouraged to construct the Research Plan as a single document, separating sections into distinct PDF attachments just before uploading the files. This approach will enable applicants to better monitor formatting requirements such as page limits. All attachments must be provided to NIH in PDF format, filenames must be included with no spaces or special characters, and a .pdf extension must be used.

Plan for Sharing Research Data

Not applicable.

Sharing Research Resources

NIH policy requires that grant awardee recipients make unique research resources readily available for research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community after publication (see the NIH Grants Policy Statement at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_Part7.htm#_Toc54600131). Investigators responding to this funding opportunity should include a plan for sharing research resources addressing how unique research resources will be shared or explain why sharing is not possible.

The adequacy of the resources sharing plan and any related data sharing plans will be considered by Program staff of the funding organization when making recommendations about funding applications. The effectiveness of the resource sharing will be evaluated as part of the administrative review of each Non-Competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590). See Section VI.3., “Reporting.”

Section V. Application Review Information


1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications submitted for this funding opportunity will be assigned to the NIH ICs on the basis of established PHS referral guidelines.

Appropriate scientific review groups convened in accordance with the standard NIH peer review procedures (http://www.csr.nih.gov/refrev.htm) will evaluate applications for scientific and technical merit.

Applications that are complete will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate review group convened by the NIH Center for Scientific Review in accordance with the review criteria stated below.

As part of the initial merit review, all applications will:

Applications submitted in response to this funding opportunity will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

The NIH R21 exploratory/developmental grant is a mechanism for supporting novel scientific ideas or new model systems, tools, or technologies that have the potential to significantly advance our knowledge or the status of health-related research. Because the Research Plan is limited to 15 pages, an exploratory/developmental grant application need not have extensive background material or preliminary information as one might normally expect in an R01 application. Accordingly, reviewers will focus their evaluation on the conceptual framework, the level of innovation, and the potential to significantly advance our knowledge or understanding. Reviewers will place less emphasis on methodological details and certain indicators traditionally used in evaluating the scientific merit of R01 applications, including supportive preliminary data. Appropriate justification for the proposed work can be provided through literature citations, data from other sources, or, when available, from investigator-generated data. Preliminary data are not required for R21 applications; however, they may be included if available.

The goals of NIH supported research are to advance our understanding of biological systems, to improve the control of disease, and to enhance health. In their written critiques, reviewers will be asked to comment on each of the following criteria in order to judge the likelihood that the proposed research will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals. Each of these criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score, weighting them as appropriate for each application.

Note that an application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority score. For example, an investigator may propose to carry out important work that by its nature is not innovative but is essential to move a field forward.

Significance:
Does this study address an important problem? If the aims of the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge or clinical practice be advanced? What will be the effect of these studies on the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

Approach: Are the conceptual or clinical framework, design, methods, and analyses adequately developed, well integrated, well reasoned, and appropriate to the aims of the project? Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider alternative tactics?

Innovation: Is the project original and innovative? For example: Does the project challenge existing paradigms or clinical practice; address an innovative hypothesis or critical barrier to progress in the field? Does the project develop or employ novel concepts, approaches, methodologies, tools, or technologies for this area?

Investigators: Are the investigators appropriately trained and well suited to carry out this work? Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level of the PD/PI and other researchers? Does the investigative team bring complementary and integrated expertise to the project (if applicable)?

Environment: Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Do the proposed studies benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, or subject populations, or employ useful collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support?

2.A. Additional Review Criteria

In addition to the above criteria, the following items will continue to be considered in the determination of scientific merit and the priority score:

Protection of Human Subjects from Research Risk: The involvement of human subjects and protections from research risk relating to their participation in the proposed research will be assessed.  See item 6 of the Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R).

Inclusion of Women, Minorities and Children in Research:
The adequacy of plans to include subjects from both genders, all racial and ethnic groups (and subgroups), and children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research will be assessed. Plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects will also be evaluated.  See item 7 of the Research Plan component of the SF424 (R&R).

Care and Use of Vertebrate Animals in Research: If vertebrate animals are to be used in the project, the five items described under item 11 of the Research Plan component of the SF 424 (R&R) will be assessed.

Biohazards: If materials or procedures are proposed that are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, determine if the proposed protection is adequate.

2.B. Additional Review Considerations

Budget and Period of Support: The reasonableness of the proposed budget and the appropriateness of the requested period of support in relation to the proposed research may be assessed by the reviewers. Is the effort listed for the PD/PI appropriate for the work proposed? Is each budget category realistic and justified in terms of the aims and methods?

2.C. Sharing Research Data

Not applicable.

2.D. Sharing Research Resources

NIH policy requires that grant awardee recipients make unique research resources readily available for research purposes to qualified individuals within the scientific community after publication (see the NIH Grants Policy Statement at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/NIHGPS_Part7.htm#_Toc54600131). Investigators responding to this funding opportunity should include a plan for sharing research resources addressing how unique research resources will be shared or explain why sharing is not possible.

Program staff will be responsible for the administrative review of the plan for sharing research resources.

The adequacy of the resources sharing plan and any related data sharing plans will be considered by Program staff of the funding organization when making recommendations about funding applications. The effectiveness of the resource sharing will be evaluated as part of the administrative review of each Non-Competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590), See Section VI.3., “Reporting.”


3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

Not applicable.

Section VI. Award Administration Information


1. Award Notices

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the NIH eRA Commons.

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant. For details, applicants may refer to the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General.

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document. Once all administrative and programmatic issues have been resolved, the NoA will be generated via e-mail notification from the awarding component to the grantee business official.

Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs. See Section IV.5., “Funding Restrictions.”

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities.

2.A. Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

Not applicable.

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the Non-Competing Grant Progress Report (PHS 2590) annually and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section VII. Agency Contacts


We encourage your inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants. Inquiries may fall into three areas: scientific/research, peer review, and financial or grants management issues.

1. Scientific/Research Contacts:

Young S. Kim, Ph.D.
Division of Cancer Prevention
National Cancer Institute
6130 Executive Boulevard, EPN Room 3156, MSC 7328
Bethesda, MD 20892-7328 (for U.S. Postal Service express or regular mail)
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier delivery)
Telephone: (301) 496-0126
FAX: (301) 480-3925
Email: yk47s@nih.gov

2. Peer Review Contacts:

Not applicable.

3. Financial or Grants Management Contacts:

Barbara Liesenfeld
Office of Grants Administration
National Cancer Institute
6120 Executive Boulevard, EPS Room 243, MSC 7150
Bethesda, MD 20892-7150 (for U.S. Postal Service express or regular mail)
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier delivery)
Phone: 301-496-3265
FAX: 301-846-5720
Email: liesenfb@mail.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information


Required Federal Citations

Use of Animals in Research:
Recipients of PHS support for activities involving live, vertebrate animals must comply with PHS Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/PHSPolicyLabAnimals.pdf) as mandated by the Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/olaw/references/hrea1985.htm), and the USDA Animal Welfare Regulations (http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/legislat/usdaleg1.htm) as applicable.

Human Subjects Protection:
Federal regulations (45CFR46) require that applications and proposals involving human subjects must be evaluated with reference to the risks to the subjects, the adequacy of protection against these risks, the potential benefits of the research to the subjects and others, and the importance of the knowledge gained or to be gained (http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/45cfr46.htm).

Data and Safety Monitoring Plan:
Data and safety monitoring is required for all types of clinical trials, including physiologic toxicity and dose-finding studies (Phase I); efficacy studies (Phase II); and efficacy, effectiveness, and comparative trials (Phase III). Monitoring should be commensurate with risk. The establishment of data and safety monitoring boards (DSMBs) is required for multi-site clinical trials involving interventions that entail potential risks to the participants (NIH Policy for Data and Safety Monitoring, NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-084.html).

Sharing Research Data:
Investigators submitting an NIH application seeking $500,000 or more in direct costs in any single year are expected to include a plan for data sharing or state why this is not possible (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/data_sharing).

Investigators should seek guidance from their institutions on issues related to institutional policies and local institutional review board (IRB) rules, as well as local, State, and Federal laws and regulations, including the Privacy Rule. Reviewers will consider the data sharing plan but will not factor the plan into the determination of scientific merit or the priority score.

Access to Research Data through the Freedom of Information Act:
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-110 has been revised to provide access to research data through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) under some circumstances. Data that are: (1) first produced in a project that is supported in whole or in part with Federal funds; and (2) cited publicly and officially by a Federal agency in support of an action that has the force and effect of law (i.e., a regulation) may be accessed through FOIA. It is important for applicants to understand the basic scope of this amendment. NIH has provided guidance at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/a110/a110_guidance_dec1999.htm. Applicants may wish to place data collected under this funding opportunity in a public archive, which can provide protections for the data and manage the distribution for an indefinite period of time. If so, the application should include a description of the archiving plan in the study design and include information about this in the budget justification section of the application. In addition, applicants should think about how to structure informed consent statements and other human subjects procedures given the potential for wider use of data collected under this award.

Sharing of Model Organisms:
NIH is committed to support efforts that encourage sharing of important research resources including the sharing of model organisms for biomedical research (see http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/model_organism/index.htm). At the same time, the NIH recognizes the rights of grantees and contractors to elect and retain title to subject inventions developed with Federal funding pursuant to the Bayh-Dole Act (see the NIH Grants Policy Statement at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/nihgps_2003/index.htm). All investigators submitting an NIH application or contract proposal, beginning with the October 1, 2004, receipt date, are expected to include in the application/proposal a description of a specific plan for sharing and distributing unique model organism research resources generated using NIH funding or state why such sharing is restricted or not possible. This will permit other researchers to benefit from the resources developed with public funding. The inclusion of a model organism sharing plan is not subject to a cost threshold in any year and is expected to be included in all applications where the development of model organisms is anticipated.

Inclusion of Women And Minorities in Clinical Research:
It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their sub-populations must be included in all NIH-supported clinical research projects unless a clear and compelling justification is provided indicating that inclusion is inappropriate with respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the research. This policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public Law 103-43). All investigators proposing clinical research should read the "NIH Guidelines for Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-001.html); a complete copy of the updated Guidelines is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_amended_10_2001.htm. The amended policy incorporates: the use of an NIH definition of clinical research; updated racial and ethnic categories in compliance with the new OMB standards; clarification of language governing NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials consistent with the SF424 (R&R); and updated roles and responsibilities of NIH staff and the extramural community. The policy continues to require for all NIH-defined Phase III clinical trials that: a) all applications or proposals and/or protocols must provide a description of plans to conduct analyses, as appropriate, to address differences by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic groups, including subgroups if applicable; and b) investigators must report annual accrual and progress in conducting analyses, as appropriate, by sex/gender and/or racial/ethnic group differences.

Inclusion of Children as Participants in Clinical Research:
The NIH maintains a policy that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21) must be included in all clinical research, conducted or supported by the NIH, unless there are scientific and ethical reasons not to include them.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the "NIH Policy and Guidelines" on the inclusion of children as participants in research involving human subjects (http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/children/children.htm).

Required Education on the Protection of Human Subject Participants:
NIH policy requires education on the protection of human subject participants for all investigators submitting NIH applications for research involving human subjects and individuals designated as key personnel. The policy is available at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-00-039.html.

Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC):
Criteria for Federal funding of research on hESCs can be found at http://stemcells.nih.gov/index.asp and at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-02-005.html. Only research using hESC lines that are registered in the NIH Human Embryonic Stem Cell Registry will be eligible for Federal funding (http://escr.nih.gov). It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide in the project description and elsewhere in the application as appropriate, the official NIH identifier(s) for the hESC line(s) to be used in the proposed research. Applications that do not provide this information will be returned without review.

NIH Public Access Policy:
NIH-funded investigators are requested to submit to the NIH manuscript submission (NIHMS) system (http://www.nihms.nih.gov) at PubMed Central (PMC) an electronic version of the author's final manuscript upon acceptance for publication, resulting from research supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH. The author's final manuscript is defined as the final version accepted for journal publication, and includes all modifications from the publishing peer review process.

NIH is requesting that authors submit manuscripts resulting from: (1) currently funded NIH research projects; or (2) previously supported NIH research projects if they are accepted for publication on or after May 2, 2005. The NIH Public Access Policy applies to all research grant and career development award mechanisms, cooperative agreements, contracts, Institutional and Individual Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards, as well as NIH intramural research studies. The Policy applies to peer-reviewed, original research publications that have been supported in whole or in part with direct costs from NIH, but it does not apply to book chapters, editorials, reviews, or conference proceedings. Publications resulting from non-NIH-supported research projects should not be submitted.

For more information about the Policy or the submission process, please visit the NIH Public Access Policy Web site at http://PublicAccess.nih.gov/ and view the Policy or other Resources and Tools including the Authors' Manual (http://publicaccess.nih.gov/publicaccess_manual.htm).

Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information:
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) issued final modification to the "Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information," the "Privacy Rule," on August 14, 2002. The Privacy Rule is a Federal regulation under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 that governs the protection of individually identifiable health information, and is administered and enforced by the DHHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

Decisions about applicability and implementation of the Privacy Rule reside with the researcher and his/her institution. The OCR Web site (http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/) provides information on the Privacy Rule, including a complete Regulation Text and a set of decision tools on "Am I a covered entity?" Information on the impact of the HIPAA Privacy Rule on NIH processes involving the review, funding, and progress monitoring of grants, cooperative agreements, and research contracts can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-03-025.html.

URLs in NIH Grant Applications or Appendices:
All applications and proposals for NIH funding must be self-contained within specified page limitations. Unless otherwise specified in an NIH solicitation, Internet addresses (URLs) should not be used to provide information necessary to the review because reviewers are under no obligation to view the Internet sites. Furthermore, we caution reviewers that their anonymity may be compromised when they directly access an Internet site.

Healthy People 2010:
The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2010," a PHS-led national activity for setting priority areas. This FOA is related to one or more of the priority areas. Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2010" at http://www.health.gov/healthypeople.

Authority and Regulations:
This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance at http://www.cfda.gov/ and is not subject to the intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems Agency review. Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement. The NIH Grants Policy Statement can be found at http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/policy.htm.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant recipients to provide a smoke-free workplace and discourage the use of all tobacco products. In addition, Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or routine education, library, day care, health care, or early childhood development services are provided to children. This is consistent with the PHS mission to protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.

Loan Repayment Programs:
NIH encourages applications for educational loan repayment from qualified health professionals who have made a commitment to pursue a research career involving clinical, pediatric, contraception, infertility, and health disparities related areas. The LRP is an important component of NIH's efforts to recruit and retain the next generation of researchers by providing the means for developing a research career unfettered by the burden of student loan debt. Note that an NIH grant is not required for eligibility and concurrent career award and LRP applications are encouraged. The periods of career award and LRP award may overlap providing the LRP recipient with the required commitment of time and effort, as LRP awardees must commit at least 50 percent of their time (at least 20 hours per week based on a 40-hour week) for 2 years to the research. For further information, please see: http://www.lrp.nih.gov/.


Weekly TOC for this Announcement
NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices


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