Grants Totaling $1.85 Million to Expand Understanding of NETs

NETRF awarded six new research grants totaling $1.85 million to leading academic institutions around the world. The goal of the funding is to improve current treatments for neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), an uncommon and poorly understood cancer, which occurs in the body’s hormone-producing cells.

“We are funding projects with the potential to be rapidly transitioned from bench to clinic because time is critical to patients with a rare and advancing cancer,” said Elyse Gellerman, NETRF chief executive officer. “NETRF looks to these funded scientists to help solve critical challenges faced by NET patients, families, and clinicians.”

“The translational and clinical projects we funded are exciting, ambitious, and diverse, and tackle fundamental problems in NETs, from finding novel and effective ways to block metastases, to creating new radionuclide therapies, and much needed experimental models,” said Effie Tzameli, Ph.D., NETRF director of research. “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.”

The grants fund clinical, translational, and basic research in the United States, Australia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Two of the studies will work towards refining approaches for Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT), a treatment modality expanding in the U.S. following the January FDA approval of lutetium Lu 177 dotatate. Other grants focus on developing laboratory models or identifying clinical biomarkers to support drug development. One grant explores a target to inhibit metastasis in pancreatic NETs. All the studies will collectively improve insights for personalized medicine in NETs.

The NETRF grant process is a competitive and structured peer-review process, which starts with an annual global call for letters of intent in late spring. A percentage of those submitting letters are invited to submit full proposals. All responses are reviewed by NETRF’s Board of Scientific Advisors and external reviewers. Final approval is made by NETRF’s Board of Directors.

“These grants bring us closer to improving the delivery of care with exciting translational and clinical studies that help us work towards improving and expanding patients’ treatment options,” said George Fisher, M.D., Ph.D., co-chair, NETRF Board of Scientific Advisors.

NETRF funded a record number of 2018 Pilot Projects. “The increased number of Pilot Projects was made possible by the generosity of many people whose lives have been affected by NET cancer, including donors to the year-end appeal, which raised more than $100,000,” said Gellerman.

NETRF is the leading private funder of NET cancer research. As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, NETRF is supported by charitable donations from individuals and foundations. A generous gift from The Margie and Robert E. Petersen Foundation funds Accelerator and Petersen Investigator grants as well as other research projects.

For more information about NETRF funded research or to register to be notified of spring 2018 grant announcements, visit netrf.org/research.