Public Release: 

American Cancer Society awards new research and training grants

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society, the largest non-government, not-for-profit funding source of cancer research in the United States, has awarded 100 national research and training grants totaling more than $45.6 million in the first of two grant cycles for 2015. The grants will fund investigators at 63 institutions across the United States; 92 are new grants while eight are renewals of previous grants. The grants go into effect June 1, 2015.

Among the new awards are two prestigious American Cancer Society Research Professorship Awards:

  • Dr. Mary L. (Nora) Disis, MD, at University of Washington, is studying the concept of using vaccines that target cancer initiation to prevent colon cancer. Her group has identified proteins that are overexpressed at the earliest stages of disease, and are even found in polyps. Her group will determine whether those genes are necessary for colon cancer survival, and if they are, develop a vaccine to stimulate the body's immune system in hopes of preventing the disease. This mouse study will lay the foundation for human studies in the future.

  • Nancy Krieger, PhD, at Harvard University School of Public Health will work to challenge the mainstream approach to social inequalities in cancer, with the goal of establishing a sound scientific basis for the elimination of these inequalities. Among her priority areas: the persistence of scientific work that present data on "race" with scant or no data on socioeconomic position, discrimination, or historical context, or trends in cancer inequities. That approach, says Dr. Krieger, limits the evidence base for both scientific understanding and effective interventions.

Since 1946, the American Cancer Society has funded research and training of health professionals to investigate the causes, prevention, and early detection of cancer, as well as new treatments, cancer survivorship, and end of life support for patients and their families. In those nearly 70 years, the American Cancer Society's extramural research grants program has devoted more than $4 billion to cancer research and has funded 47 researchers who have won the Nobel Prize.

The Council also approved 122 research applications for funding totaling more than $71.5 million that could not be funded due to budgetary constraints. These "pay-if" grants represent work that passed the Society's multi-disciplinary review process but are beyond the Society's current funding resources. These "pay-if" grants can be and often are subsidized by individual donors who wish to support research that would not otherwise be funded. In 2014, more than $5.6 million in additional funding helped finance 25 "pay-if" grants.


For more information about the American Cancer Society Research Program, please visit

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