$300K to target new areas of breast cancer research

The NZ Breast Cancer Foundation is calling for proposals to address some of the most challenging areas in breast cancer research, including prevention of the disease, prevention of metastasis (the spread of cancer, which is what causes the 600-plus breast cancer deaths in NZ each year), and improving clinical practice for better patient outcomes.

The NZBCF is putting its money where its mouth is – its new Innovation and Impact in Breast Cancer grant programme commits a minimum of $300,000 across chosen projects for one year, with the potential for promising studies to be extended in subsequent years. The NZBCF may also seek to partner with other funding organisations for specific studies, with a view to growing the pool of available funds. This new grant round comes on top of the $2.4 million the NZBCF has committed to research in the past in the past two years (when taking partnerships with other organisations into account, the NZBCF has made a total of $3.7 million available for research over that time).

Innovation and Impact will fund projects that have clear clinical potential in the short to medium term – potential to make a real difference to patients,” said Evangelia Henderson, chief executive at the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation. “We also want to see a clear benefit or logic in the proposed research being undertaken in New Zealand, rather than elsewhere. That may be something related to our patient environment, or some specific local skills.”

Mrs Henderson said there is also scope to build on promising results of studies or trials in other tumour types, rather than necessarily starting from scratch with new studies in breast cancer. Such an approach leverages existing knowledge, encourages collaboration, achieves economies of scale and may also add value back to other tumour research areas.

More details of the NZBCF’s specific interests for Innovation and Impact in Breast Cancer are in the Request for Proposals available here, but in summary, the focus is on exciting and innovative research or trials that support the NZBCF’s mission, which is to prevent NZ women developing and dying of breast cancer, and to support women with the disease. The NZBCF has also identified three immediate priority areas where local research is needed: introduction of genomic testing, treatments for advanced breast cancer, and benchmarking for best practice both nationally and internationally.

The NZ Breast Cancer Foundation has also opened applications for its 2016 Fellowship, an $80,000 grant to an individual researcher or clinician wishing to undertake research work of significance to breast cancer. Applicants may be working in any medical or scientific discipline relevant to breast cancer.

Proposals for Innovation and Impact in Breast Cancer grants are due to the NZBCF by February 10, 2016. Applications for the NZBCF Fellowship are due by December 11, 2015.