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2020 Investigator Award in Cell and Gene Therapy for Cancer


Abstract Deadline: December 3, 2019 at 11 am (EST) (Step 1)
Invitation to Submit Application: January 17, 2020
Deadline for Completed Application: February 14, 2020 at 11 am (EST) (Step 2)
Finalists Selected: March 2020
Award:April 2020

Date of Issue: November 8, 2019



Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, Inc. (ACGT) funds research aimed at furthering the development of cell and gene therapy approaches to the treatment of cancer.


This award is for those conducting cell and gene therapy research in solid tumors with preference given to those researching new approaches to glioblastoma and pancreatic cancers including, but not limited to, following areas:

Identification of new molecular targets for solid tumors, including neo-antigens as immunotherapeutic targets, specifically in pancreatic cancer and glioblastoma.

  • Enhancement of dendritic cell functions, including antigen presentation and T cell activation, to generate more effective anti-tumor immune responses.
  • Manipulation of the tumor microenvironment to augment and sustain anti-tumor immunity.
  • Activation of innate immune responses against cancer, including investigating the therapeutic potential of Natural Killer (NK) cells in low-antigen expressing or MHC-deficient tumors.
  • Potentiation of oncolytic virotherapy approaches in solid tumors, especially exploiting their potential to convert “cold tumors” into “hot tumors”.
  • Development of novel gene delivery systems and oncolytic agents with potential for therapeutic efficacy in vivo and clinical translation.
  • Exploration of microRNAs as therapeutic agents.


Candidates for the ACGT 2020 Investigator Award in Cell and Gene Therapy for Cancer must hold an MD, PhD, or equivalent degree and must be tenure-track or tenured faculty. ACGT recognizes that there may be other excellent researchers not on a tenure-track, or not at medical schools or research centers, but this is an eligibility requirement for application. The investigator must be conducting original research as an independent faculty member. ACGT has no citizenship restrictions, and research supported by the award must be conducted at academic medical centers or research centers located in the United States or Canada.


The award provides up to a maximum of $500,000 distributed over 2-3 years, inclusive of a maximum of 10% indirect costs. The funds may be used at the recipient’s discretion for salary, technical assistance, supplies, animals or capital equipment, but may not support staff who are not directly related to the project, e.g. secretaries or administrative assistants. Purchase of equipment is not allowed in the final year of the grant. Continued support is contingent upon submission and approval of a non-competitive renewal application each year.


There is a two-step process for submitting applications electronically via proposalCENTRAL, an outside service provider hosted by Altum. Access is available directly through the proposalCENTRAL website at:

A candidate must submit the following by the required deadlines:

Step 1: A pre-application Letter of Intent (LOI) that includes an abstract of the proposed research and a current biographical sketch must be submitted by the deadline (December 3rd, 2019) through the proposalCENTRAL platform. The LOI/abstracts will then be reviewed by the ACGT Scientific Advisory Council and its approved reviewers. Those selected will be invited by January 17th to submit full applications.

Step 2: For those invited to submit full applications, a completed electronic application, including templates and a Signed Administrative and Signature Page(s) scanned and attached to the front of the completed application template, must be submitted by the deadline (February 14, 2020 at 11 am (EST)) through the proposalCENTRAL platform.

NOTE: A paper copy submission is NOT required.


Instructions for completing the application are available at ACGT’s website under Research Grants and also through the proposalCENTRAL website.


If you have any questions regarding the online application, please contact proposalCENTRAL Customer Support by e-mail at or at (800) 875-2562 x 227 (toll-free) or (301) 916-4557 x 227.


Each applicant’s LOI/abstract of the proposed project is reviewed by members of the ACGT Scientific Advisory Council and its approved reviewers. All applicants will be evaluated on the basis of scientific and technical merit and a corresponding fit with the research objectives of the grant. Based on the review of the LOI/abstracts, certain applicants will be invited to submit a full application for consideration. These applications are then peer reviewed by two – three experts in the field, with the highest scores determining the pool of finalists from which the ACGT Scientific Advisory Council and its approved reviewers makes its final recommendations to ACGT’s Board of Directors for approval.

Finalists will be invited to present their proposals to a panel of experts, including ACGT Scientific Advisory Council members in a live “Research Challenge” event during the ACGT 2020 Cancer Summit in New York, April 15-16, 2020. The announcement of the award will be made during the Summit and presented at the Awards Gala Dinner.


Grant funds will be disbursed following execution of a grant agreement between the grantee institution and ACGT. The following items will be covered in ACGT grant agreements with grantee institutions:

  • Overhead of up to 10% is included in the awarded amount. The 2020 Investigator Award in Cell and Gene Therapy for Cancer research grant will support research projects with two to three-year time frames for completion, with annual non-competitive renewal applications.
  • Grantees and their affiliated institutions are required to submit periodic progress reports to ACGT. In addition, they are expected to share their research findings with the scientific community in a timely fashion through presentation at professional meetings and publication in scientific journals.
  • ACGT will request acknowledgment of the grant in any presentations and/or publications by the investigators and/or institutions.
  • ACGT will receive a reasonable royalty return, including license fees on inventions and improvements made by investigators on research supported by its grants.
  • The grantee institution will agree (i) to indemnify ACGT solely with respect to claims relating to the award of a grant and (ii) that all research supported by ACGT will be conducted in accordance with all applicable state and Federal laws, rules and regulations.
  • Awards to an institution will terminate when the principal investigator departs from the grantee institution and can be re-initiated at an alternate institution subject to ACGT approval.
  • Should grantees and/or their affiliated institutions fail to meet policies, procedures and/or ongoing requirements of the grant, ACGT reserves the right to rescind annual follow-on grant awards.


An application for a grant must bear the signature of an official authorized to sign for the institution, acknowledging the above policies.


For application information, policies and procedures, and general information, please contact Barbara Lavery, Chief Program Officer,

“My priority is not just advancing science, but translating that science into meaningful clinical therapeutics,” says Dr. Delgoffe. “and it’s been fantastic to have ACGT’s support. ACGT fueled my career trajectory. It came into my life when I was just getting my lab and my research off the ground. It’s an important part of what got me and my research where we are today.”

Learn more about ACGT Fellow, Greg Michael Delgoffe, PhD and his work studying the metabolism of T cells.

“Cancer is not a defined or fixed entity. Cancer evolves, grows and changes over time, which means effective treatments need to be able to respond in kind. They cannot be stationary or limited in scope. They must be able to adapt to the changing landscape of cancer.”

Learn more about ACGT Fellow, E. Antonio Chiocca, M.D., Ph.D., and his work engineering oncolytic viruses.