Request for Information (RFI) on Directions and Needs for Cancer Nanotechnology Research and Development

Notice Number: NOT-CA-13-017

Key Dates
Release Date: September 12, 2013
Response Date: November 1, 2013

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Cancer Institute (NCI)


The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to gain feedback, comments, and novel ideas from interested members of the cancer nanotechnology community, other relevant segments of scientific communities, and the American public on the field of cancer-relevant nanotechnology including its support by NCI.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and/or the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Information Requested

The NCI supports the development of nanotechnologies with applications in the diagnosis and therapy of cancer. The Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer - a funding program supporting a diverse network of basic and translational researchers - was formed to accomplish this task. Beyond the Alliance efforts, NCI and other Institutes and Centers (ICs) of the NIH support a large portfolio of center awards and individual investigator awards involving nanotechnology.

Biomedical nanotechnology, including cancer-relevant nanotechnology, is widely viewed as a promising and highly innovative field, with a potential for transformative scientific advancements and practical applications. Essential for the realization of this potential is the diversity of scientists and engineers contributing to research and development efforts in biomedical nanotechnology. Thorough understanding of these aspects, including the perspective of the involved members of scientific community is needed for the optimized planning of future initiatives in the field of cancer-relevant medical nanotechnology.

Specifically, the NCI requests that cancer researchers, clinicians, and other interested members of the community share their perspectives on any applicable/relevant aspects in the following areas:

Areas Relevant to Nanotechnology Research

  • Advances that are the most important to date in the field of cancer-relevant nanotechnology and progress towards clinical applications.
  • Current and/or potential contributions of nanotechnology to answering the big questions in cancer biology. 
  • Research priorities for nanotechnology in cancer over next 5 years.
  • Key factors that can influence progress in the field of cancer-relevant nanotechnology.
  • Future role that the NCI (as well as NIH, in general) may or should play to stimulate and/or facilitate progress in cancer-relevant nanotechnology.
  • Engagement of the clinical community in cancer-relevant nanotechnology.
  • Value of various models of supporting and conducting nanotechnology research in the cancer context over the next 5-10 years (e.g., projects involving single vs. multi-laboratory efforts; small teams vs. large teams; single institution efforts vs. multi-institution collaborations; focused vs. broadly multidisciplinary projects; investigator-initiated projects vs. large dedicated centers, etc.).
  • Main barriers to efficient conduct of research in cancer-relevant nanotechnology.
  • NCI/NIH role in supporting the interactions between the academic research community and industry, to promote commercialization or the clinical translation of research findings. Types of support that NCI/NIH could provide (funding, access to resources, etc.) that would facilitate translational efforts and path to product commercialization.
  • If applicable, you are encouraged to share specific experiences you may have had with the NCI/NIH support for cancer-relevant nanotechnology research and its translation from academia to the clinic and/or commercial environment. Examples of the aspects you may wish to address can include but are not limited to:
    • The extent to which you and/or your collaborators have interacted or collaborated with the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer or participated in Alliance supported activities or benefitted from that program in any other way.
    • Your interactions with NCI’s Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL) and how these interactions affected the clinical translation of your research.

Areas Relevant to Training in Nanotechnology

  • Training needs in the field of cancer nanotechnology and the value of such activities for the development of new research directions.
  • Effectiveness of various recruitment efforts to attract multidisciplinary trainees to your institution's research and training programs in cancer-relevant nanotechnology.
  • Role of training programs focused on cancer-relevant nanotechnology as a step in career development for their participants and possible ways to enhance this aspect.

Areas Related to Commercial Development of Nanotechnology-based Approaches

  • Sources of innovative technologies your company relies on.
  • Degree to which a company’s goals and future products would depend on technology licensing from academia vs. other sources, including in-house research.
  • Main challenges companies face in undertaking nanomedicine research and development efforts.
  • Activities or programs NCI/NIH could develop to aid translation of nanomedicines from academia to the commercial sector.
  • Your experience with academic and/or federal (governmental) partnerships and the effect of these partnerships on your technology, product, and/or business developments.

Comments on other aspects of cancer-related nanotechnology are also welcomed.

Note: Do not include any proprietary or confidential information.

How to Submit a Response

Responses will be accepted through November 1, 2013. Please mark responses with this RFI identifier NOT-CA-13-017. Responses in electronic formats are preferred and can be emailed to

All individual responses will remain confidential. Any identifiers (e.g., names, institutions, e-mail addresses, etc.) will be removed when responses are compiled. Only the processed, anonymized results will be shared internally with NIH staff members and members of scientific working groups convened by the NCI, as appropriate.

Respondents will receive an automated email confirmation acknowledging receipt of their response but will not receive any individualized feedback.


Inquiries regarding this RFI should be directed to:

Lynn C. Hull, Ph.D.
Office of Cancer Nanotechnology Research
National Cancer Institute
Phone: 301-435-0728


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