Paving the road towards powerful targeted therapies

by Effie Tzameli, PhD, NETRF Director of Research

The NETRF 2017 Request for Applications (RFA) was designed to invite innovative and transformative translational and clinical research proposals that would bring us closer to more effective therapies. While we have a longstanding interest in basic research, this year we were also interested in applications that tackle big issues in the field of neuroendocrine tumor research, from novel theranostics and more personalized clinical studies, to the new generation of experimental tools for basic and translational research.

We were delighted to receive grants proposing work that covered all the areas of interest outlined in the RFA. Equally exciting was that this year, we were able to expand our global reach to sixteen countries.

Following a rigorous peer-review process supported by NETRF’s Board of Scientific Advisors and external expert reviewers, six scientists received awards. We are excited to also announce that four of the six awards went to Pilot Projects and young investigators, the highest number awarded in any RFA cycle. This brings NETRF’s total investment in research, since the Foundation began in 2005, to $20 million.

This year’s proposals are ambitious and diverse. They tackle fundamental problems in NETs, such as finding novel and effective ways to block metastases using pre-clinical and clinical models, creating new radionuclide therapies and much needed experimental tools, or increasing the precision of targeted therapies. We expect that the outcomes of such work will transform our thinking about how NETs spread and develop resistance to treatment, and will help develop new treatments and innovative tools to test new therapies.

What we do is made possible by the generosity of many people whose lives have been affected by neuroendocrine cancer. And, as the largest private funder of NET research, the Foundation has the responsibility to our donors and to NET research community to set bold but attainable research priorities, to drive resources to the most critical and promising areas of inquiry, and to invest in the brightest minds. The NETRF, its Scientific Advisors and Board of Directors are profoundly aware of this, as we expand upon our research portfolio each year. We hope that the outcomes of these and future grants will make personalized medicine a reality for NET patients.

Last, but not least, for the researchers in our audience, stay tuned for the announcement of the 2018 RFA during late spring, and come to us with bold and groundbreaking ideas.