EGRP News Flash - October 30, 2009

Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program RFAs Released

On behalf of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Epidemiology and Genetics Research Program (EGRP) is pleased to announce three parallel Requests for Applications (RFAs) that together will constitute the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP) Network. The BCERP is co-funded by NCI and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and supports transdisciplinary research on the interactions of environmental factors (including chemical, physical, and social environmental) with genetic factors during windows of susceptibility throughout a woman's lifespan that potentially influence breast cancer risk.

The Notices, which appear in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, solicit cooperative agreement grant applications (U01) for:

  • Environmental Influences During Windows of Susceptibility in Breast Cancer Risk (RFA-ES-09-009External Web Site Policy)
  • Limited Competition: Continuation of Studies on Early Environmental Exposures and Human Puberty (RFA-ES-09-008External Web Site Policy)
  • Coordinating Center for the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (RFA-ES-09-010External Web Site Policy)

Summary information on the three RFAs follows:

Environmental Influences During Windows of Susceptibility in Breast Cancer Risk

This RFA supports novel experimental and ancillary epidemiological, clinical, or population studies involving human subjects focusing on the gene-environment interactions as well as molecular mechanisms of environmental influences on breast cancer risk operational during relevant windows of susceptibility over the life span of an organism. Is it expected that proposed research projects will take advantage of the most currently available and relevant in vitro and in vivo mammary gland biology models, recent technological advances (imaging technologies, various "omics" approaches, and other high-throughput methods), and unique reagents. Human studies also are encouraged; however, recruitment of new subjects to establish or expand an existing cohort is not within the scope of this RFA. The proposed epidemiological, clinical, or population projects must be ancillary studies associated with existing epidemiological, clinical, or population studies that are uniquely positioned to study windows of susceptibility related to breast cancer risk.

Grantees are required to partner with breast cancer advocate(s) and/or members of the engaged community. The partnership among researchers and community partners are expected to facilitate bi-directional communication between researchers and the engaged community. Responsibilities of the community partner include, but are not limited to, communicating community concerns regarding environmental exposures of high and relevant importance, representing the community perspective when designing the study to ensure acceptability, and helping to translate and communicate study findings to community members, policy makers, and/or other stakeholders, as appropriate. In addition, the community partners are expected to participate collaboratively with other community partners and research projects within the BCERP Network.

NCI and NIEHS plan to make up to six awards in response to this announcement. Each award is limited to $300,000 direct costs per year. Applicants may request up to five years.

Letters of intent are due November 30, 2009 and applications are due by December 30, 2009. The NCI contact is Neeraja Sathamoorthy, Ph.D., Program Director, Tumor Biology & Metastasis Branch, Division of Cancer Biology; e-mail: sathyamn@mail.nih.gov.

Limited Competition: Continuation of Studies on Early Environmental Exposures and Human Puberty

This RFA is a limited competition open only to the existing, funded epidemiology projects of the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Centers (BCERCs) to support completion of follow-up of an established cohort of girls through female maturation, with the goal of identifying determinants of pubertal and developmental milestones associated with long-term risk of breast cancer.

All study sites will use similar methods to collect data on markers of physiologic changes during the pubertal process and for assessments of environmental stressors of importance to future breast cancer risk, including chemical, physical, and social environmental exposures, lifestyle behaviors, nutrition and anthropometric markers. In addition, pooled analysis of genetic polymorphisms of interest will be included to fully explore relevant gene-environment interactions.

Researchers will collaborate with a local Community Outreach and Translation Core (COTC) that will build and promote partnerships among researchers, community members, and other stakeholders, ensure representation of breast cancer advocates in formulating research questions, assist with participant retention, and develop and implement tools and materials to communicate study findings to the public and policy makers. Representatives from the COTC will also be expected to work collaboratively with community partners and members of parallel research studies and dissemination activities that make up the BCERP Network in supporting the development of key messages resulting from research findings that may be disseminated locally or nationally.

NIEHS and NCI plan to make three awards in response to this announcement. Each award is limited to $650,000 direct costs per year. These U01s will not exceed five years.

Letters of intent are due November 23, 2009 and applications are due by December 23, 2009. The NCI contact is Gary Ellison, Ph.D., M.P.H., Program Director, Modifiable Risk Factors Branch, EGRP.

Coordinating Center for the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program

The Coordinating Center will play an integral role in the performance and direction of this program and will require a unique set of scientific and administrative skills. It will be responsible for facilitating cross-site data collection protocols and overseeing data input, storage, management, standardization/harmonization, and sharing for an on-going multi-site epidemiological study; enhancing collaborations among investigators, managing the Steering Committee and its components, managing an advisory Breast Cancer and the Environment Working Group; providing reports on progress and budget to NIH staff; and organizing annual BCERP integration and National Meetings. The operations of the Coordinating Center are expected to assist collaborations among multi-disciplinary teams of researchers, breast cancer advocates, and community partners drawn from networks or other collaborative groups to conduct high-quality, transdisciplinary research in the environmental health aspects of breast cancer.

NCI and NIEHS plan to make one award in response to this announcement. Budgets for direct costs of up to $600,000 per year and project duration of up to five years may be requested for a maximum of $3 million direct costs over the project period.

Letters of intent are due November 30, 2009 and applications are due by December 30, 2009. The NCI contact is Gary Ellison, Ph.D., M.P.H., Program Director, Modifiable Risk Factors Branch, EGRP.

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