Department of Health and Human Services
Part 1. Overview Information
Participating Organization(s)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Components of Participating Organizations

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Funding Opportunity Title

Pediatric Preclinical Testing Consortium: Coordinating Center (U01)

Activity Code

U01 Research Project – Cooperative Agreements

Announcement Type

New

Related Notices
Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) Number

RFA-CA-14-019

Companion Funding Opportunity

RFA-CA-14-018 U01 Research Project – Cooperative Agreements

Number of Applications

Only one application per institution is allowed, as defined in Section III. 3. Additional Information on Eligibility.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number(s)

93.395  

Funding Opportunity Purpose

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is a part of the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Consortium (PPTC) initiative. The PPTC will consist of in vivo and in vitro testing Research Programs (both supported under companion RFA-CA-14-018) and the PPTC Coordinating Center (supported under this FOA).

The PPTC is designed to address key challenges associated with the development of new therapies for children with cancer by developing reliable preclinical testing data for pediatric drug candidates that can be used to inform new agent prioritization decisions. Effective prioritization is critical because of the large universe of drugs being developed for adult cancers, a number so large that no more than a small number can be studied in pediatric clinical trials. Identifying through preclinical testing those investigational agents most likely to have clinical activity for selected childhood cancers accelerates the pace at which treatments that are more effective than the current ones can be identified and incorporated into standard practice for children with cancer. 

The PPTC Research Programs, responsible for conducting the in vivo and in vitro testing of selected agents, will be focused on specific tumor types that are particularly relevant to pediatric oncology.

The PPTC Coordinating Center, which is subject of this FOA, will be responsible for integrating the activities of the individual PPTC Research Programs to create a functional consortium for pediatric preclinical testing. Specifically, the PPTP-Coordinating Center will provide administrative coordination and infrastructure, data management and statistical support, as well as Consortium scientific coordination.

Key Dates
Posted Date

September 5, 2014

Open Date (Earliest Submission Date)

October 13, 2014

Letter of Intent Due Date(s)

October 13, 2014

Application Due Date(s)

November 13, 2014, by 5:00 PM local time of applicant organization. All types of non-AIDS applications allowed for this funding opportunity announcement are due on this date.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early to allow adequate time to make any corrections to errors found in the application during the submission process by the due date.

AIDS Application Due Date(s)

Not Applicable

Scientific Merit Review

February-March, 2015

Advisory Council Review

May 2015

Earliest Start Date

July 2015

Expiration Date

November 14, 2014

Due Dates for E.O. 12372

Not Applicable

Required Application Instructions

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, except where instructed to do otherwise (in this FOA or in a Notice from the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts). Conformance to all requirements (both in the Application Guide and the FOA) is required and strictly enforced. Applicants must read and follow all application instructions in the Application Guide as well as any program-specific instructions noted in Section IV. When the program-specific instructions deviate from those in the Application Guide, follow the program-specific instructions. Applications that do not comply with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

Table of Contents

Part 1. Overview Information
Part 2. Full Text of the Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description
Section II. Award Information
Section III. Eligibility Information
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
Section V. Application Review Information
Section VI. Award Administration Information
Section VII. Agency Contacts
Section VIII. Other Information

Part 2. Full Text of Announcement
Section I. Funding Opportunity Description

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is a part of the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Consortium (PPTC) initiative. The PPTC will consist of Research Programs for in vivo and in vitro testing of the activity of pediatric antitumor drug candidates (supported under RFA-CA-14-018) and a PPTC Coordinating Center (supported under this FOA). The main goal for PPTC is to develop a rigorous preclinical testing system for pediatric antitumor drug candidates and generate reliable data that can be used to inform new agent prioritization decisions and, thereby, accelerate the development of more effective treatments for children with cancer.

This FOA invites applications for the PPTC Coordinating Center. The Coordinating Center will be responsible for integrating the activities of the individual PPTC Research Programs to create a functional consortium for pediatric preclinical testing. Specifically, the PPTP-Coordinating Center will provide administrative coordination and infrastructure, data management and statistical support, as well as Consortium scientific coordination.

The PPTC research activities will complement existing NCI-supported childhood cancer clinical research programs.  By supporting the development of systematic preclinical efficacy and pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic data for novel agents, the PPTC will facilitate the new agent prioritization process of pediatric oncology clinical research programs.  The purpose of successful prioritization is to enhance the likelihood of positive clinical trials that lead to more effective treatments for children with cancer.

Background

Effective prioritization of drug candidates is critical to successful childhood cancer drug development. Pediatric drug candidates are generally selected from among agents that are being developed for adult cancers. The latter agents are much more numerous than a small number that can be studied in pediatric clinical trials. Therefore, it is essential to identify through preclinical testing those investigational agents that are most likely to have clinical activity for selected childhood cancers. Such optimized selection can accelerate the pace at which treatments that are more effective than the current ones can be identified and incorporated into standard practice for children with cancer. 

The challenges associated with developing new therapies for childhood cancers are distinctive compared to those encountered in developing therapies for the neoplastic diseases of adults.  Childhood cancers are rare, the overall cure rate is greater than 80 percent, and event-free survival (EFS) is now 70% or higher for many cancer types. Reflecting these relatively high cure rates, the number of pediatric patients with progressive disease that are eligible for early phase clinical trials is low (compared to the situation for common cancers in adults). The low number of eligible patients is a major challenge to pediatric cancer drug development because it limits the number of new investigational agents that can be clinically evaluated in children with cancer. Furthermore, new anticancer agents are developed primarily for activity against adult neoplastic diseases (e.g., colon, lung, breast, etc.), so that agents with specific activity against childhood malignancies might not be readily identified without additional testing targeted at pediatric tumors.

NCI has supported pediatric preclinical testing through a contract mechanism via the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program (PPTP). Since 2005, more than 80 anticancer agents have been tested under this program. The most promising agents from this testing have been prioritized for clinical evaluation through other NCI-supported clinical oncology programs, including Children Oncology Group (COG) Phase 1 Consortium, the COG Disease Committees, and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium.

Given the significance of pediatric-specific preclinical research for pediatric drug development, the NCI decided to elevate the research aspect of these activities and change the form of support from the contract to cooperative agreement mechanism by creating the PPTC. The activities of individual PPTC Research Programs will be coordinated and integrated by the PPTC Coordinating Center.  This reshaping is expected to take greater advantage of the creativity, expertise, and insights of childhood cancer researchers, to optimize the prioritization process, and to facilitate the entry of selected agents into pediatric clinical trials.

Research Objectives and Requirements

The PPTC Coordinating Center will be expected to coordinate the activities of the PPTC Research Programs and support general Consortium activities as outlined below.

Consortium Administrative Coordination

  • Provision of logistical support as needed for successful Consortium operations (e.g., for communications with Research Programs, NCI, and pharmaceutical collaborators; for hosting and documenting PPTC Steering Committee teleconferences/webinars; for organizing annual face-to-face meetings; for coordination of shipments of agents supplied by pharmaceutical companies or other entities to Research Programs, etc.).
  • Development and maintenance of a site for the confidential sharing of documents.
  • Development and maintenance of an interactive web page to publicize the Consortium and to announce the availability of Consortium-supported resources and receive input from external investigators.
  • Establishment and implementation of a Conflict of Interest Policy for the Consortium.

Data Management and Statistical Support

  • Develop and implement procedures for the collection of testing data from the Research Programs.
  • Develop and implement procedures for the statistical analysis of data collected from the Research Programs.
  • Develop and implement procedures for bioinformatic analysis of testing results to relate treatment effects to molecular characteristics of the preclinical models studied.

Consortium Scientific Coordination

  • Contribute along with PPTC Research Program PD(s)/PI(s) to the scientific leadership of the PPTC and oversee the PPTC Steering Committee
  • Coordinate the preparation of documents as needed to meet the Consortium's scientific objectives (e.g., manual of operations and procedures, research plans, study reports, manuscripts, etc.)
  • Coordinate drug shipments of agents supplied by pharmaceutical companies or other entities to Research Programs.
  • Develop and implement a Quality Control/Quality Assurance (QC/QA) program for the PPTC.
  • Manage the Pharmacokinetic-Pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) Research Fund to support conduct of PK-PD studies that are components of research plans approved by the PPTC Steering Committee.
  • Develop and implement metrics for evaluating the performance of PPTC Research Programs.

PPTC Governance. The PPTC will have a Steering Committee as a collective body responsible for setting general directions for PPTC, including prioritizing agents for evaluation, defining the scope and focus of research plans for agents selected for testing, and approving the general procedures under which the PPTC will operate (for details see Section VI.2. Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions). 

Program Evaluation. The PPTC initiative will be subject to external evaluation near the end of the funding period (to be coordinated by the NCI Program Staff). Such evaluation is part of NIH efforts to optimize the efficiency of the funded research. The evaluation process will involve monitoring and assessing the progress of the PPTC toward achieving its goals. This aspect includes evaluating the quality, value, and scientific impact of the research conducted by the PPTC. For the efficient evaluation of the Consortium, cooperation of the Consortium awardees will be important and expected.    

Section II. Award Information
Funding Instrument

Cooperative Agreement: A support mechanism used when there will be substantial Federal scientific or programmatic involvement. Substantial involvement means that, after award, NIH scientific or program staff will assist, guide, coordinate, or participate in project activities.

Application Types Allowed

New

The OER Glossary and the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide provide details on these application types.

Funds Available and Anticipated Number of Awards

NCI intends to commit approximately $0.55 million in total costs to support one PPTC Coordinating Center award in FY 2015.

Award Budget

Application budgets must not exceed $550,000 per year in total costs.

Award Project Period

The scope of the proposed project should determine the project period. The maximum project period is 5 years.

NIH grants policies as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement will apply to the applications submitted and awards made in response to this FOA.

Section III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
Eligible Organizations

Higher Education Institutions

  • Public/State Controlled Institutions of Higher Education
  • Private Institutions of Higher Education

The following types of Higher Education Institutions are always encouraged to apply for NIH support as Public or Private Institutions of Higher Education:

  • Hispanic-serving Institutions
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
  • Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs)
  • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
  • Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)

Nonprofits Other Than Institutions of Higher Education

  • Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)
  • Nonprofits without 501(c)(3) IRS Status (Other than Institutions of Higher Education)

For-Profit Organizations

  • Small Businesses
  • For-Profit Organizations (Other than Small Businesses)

Governments

  • State Governments
  • Eligible Agencies of the Federal Government
  • U.S. Territory or Possession
Foreign Institutions

Non-domestic (non-U.S.) Entities (Foreign Institutions) are not eligible to apply.
Non-domestic (non-U.S.) components of U.S. Organizations are not eligible to apply.
Foreign components, as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement, are not allowed.

Required Registrations

Applicant Organizations

Applicant organizations must complete and maintain the following registrations as described in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide to be eligible to apply for or receive an award. All registrations must be completed prior to the application being submitted. Registration can take 6 weeks or more, so applicants should begin the registration process as soon as possible. The NIH Policy on Late Submission of Grant Applications states that failure to complete registrations in advance of a due date is not a valid reason for a late submission.

  • Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) - All registrations require that applicants be issued a DUNS number. After obtaining a DUNS number, applicants can begin both SAM and eRA Commons registrations. The same DUNS number must be used for all registrations, as well as on the grant application.
  • System for Award Management (SAM) (formerly CCR) – Applicants must complete and maintain an active registration, which requires renewal at least annually. The renewal process may require as much time as the initial registration. SAM registration includes the assignment of a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code for domestic organizations which have not already been assigned a CAGE Code.
  • eRA Commons - Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the eRA Commons registration. Organizations can register with the eRA Commons as they are working through their SAM or Grants.gov registration. eRA Commons requires organizations to identify at least one Signing Official (SO) and at least one Program Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) account in order to submit an application.
  • Grants.gov – Applicants must have an active DUNS number and SAM registration in order to complete the Grants.gov registration.

Program Directors/Principal Investigators (PD(s)/PI(s))

All PD(s)/PI(s) must have an eRA Commons account.  PD(s)/PI(s) should work with their organizational officials to either create a new account or to affiliate their existing account with the applicant organization in eRA Commons. If the PD/PI is also the organizational Signing Official, they must have two distinct eRA Commons accounts, one for each role. Obtaining an eRA Commons account can take up to 2 weeks.

Eligible Individuals (Program Director/Principal Investigator)

Any individual(s) with the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to carry out the proposed research as the Program Director(s)/Principal Investigator(s) (PD(s)/PI(s)) is invited to work with his/her organization to develop an application for support. Individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as well as individuals with disabilities are always encouraged to apply for NIH support.

For institutions/organizations proposing multiple PDs/PIs, visit the Multiple Program Director/Principal Investigator Policy and submission details in the Senior/Key Person Profile (Expanded) Component of the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

2. Cost Sharing

This FOA does not require cost sharing as defined in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

3. Additional Information on Eligibility
Number of Applications

Only one application per institution (normally identified by having a unique DUNS number or NIH IPF number) is allowed.

The NIH will not accept duplicate or highly overlapping applications under review at the same time.  This means that the NIH will not accept:

  • A new (A0) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of an overlapping new (A0) or resubmission (A1) application.
  • A resubmission (A1) application that is submitted before issuance of the summary statement from the review of the previous new (A0) application.
  • An application that has substantial overlap with another application pending appeal of initial peer review (see NOT-OD-11-101).

In addition, the NIH will not accept a resubmission (A1) application that is submitted later than 37 months after submission of the new (A0) application that it follows.  The NIH will accept submission:

  • To an RFA of an application that was submitted previously as an investigator-initiated application but not paid;
  • Of an investigator-initiated application that was originally submitted to an RFA but not paid; or
  • Of an application with a changed grant activity code.
Section IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Requesting an Application Package

Applicants must download the SF424 (R&R) application package associated with this funding opportunity using the “Apply for Grant Electronically” button in this FOA or following the directions provided at Grants.gov.

2. Content and Form of Application Submission

It is critical that applicants follow the instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, including Supplemental Grant Application Instructions except where instructed in this funding opportunity announcement to do otherwise. Conformance to the requirements in the Application Guide is required and strictly enforced. Applications that are out of compliance with these instructions may be delayed or not accepted for review.

For information on Application Submission and Receipt, visit Frequently Asked Questions – Application Guide, Electronic Submission of Grant Applications.

Letter of Intent

Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows IC staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

By the date listed in Part 1. Overview Information, prospective applicants are asked to submit a letter of intent that includes the following information:

  • Descriptive title of proposed activity
  • Name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s) of the PD(s)/PI(s)
  • Names of other key personnel
  • Participating institution(s)
  • Number and title of this funding opportunity

The letter of intent should be sent to:

Malcolm A. Smith, MD, PhD
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Phone: (240) 276-6087
Fax: (240) 276-7892
Email: Malcolm.Smith@nih.gov

Page Limitations

All page limitations described in the SF424 Application Guide and the Table of Page Limits must be followed.

Instructions for Application Submission

The following section supplements the instructions found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide and should be used for preparing an application to this FOA.

SF424(R&R) Cover

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

SF424(R&R) Project/Performance Site Locations

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

SF424(R&R) Other Project Information

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

Other Attachments: Applicants should provide the following additional supporting materials:

  • Details of the analytical methods proposed to analyze in vitro and in vivo data to be generated by the PPTC Research Programs.

Upload these materials as a single pdf file using file name "Analytical Methods" (this file name will become a bookmark in the application).

SF424(R&R) Senior/Key Person Profile

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed. 

R&R or Modular Budget

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed. Additional instructions apply as follows.

Applicants must budget under Other Expenses $50,000 per year (direct costs) for Pharmacokinetic-Pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) Research Fund. These funds will be restricted only to support conduct of PK-PD studies that will be approved by the PPTC Steering Committee.

R&R Subaward Budget

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.

PHS 398 Cover Page Supplement

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed.  

PHS 398 Research Plan

All instructions in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide must be followed, with the following additional instructions:

Research Strategy: Specific Sub-Sections A-D that must be included in Research Strategy are described below.

Sub-section A. Scientific and Administrative Capabilities

Outline the major strengths and collective capabilities in the areas of:

  • Management of large-scale collaborative research efforts involving multiple institutions. Summarize collective experience not covered by Biosketches that is relevant to the coordination of a multi-institutional research consortium/collaboration.  Discuss the complementarity of team experience in these areas without repeating information covered by Biosketches or budget.
  • Collection, storage, and analysis of preclinical testing results.
  • Bioinformatic analysis to identify relationships between molecular characteristics of preclinical models and their response to anticancer agents.

Sub-section B. Consortium Administrative Coordination

Describe the development, implementation, and maintenance plans for each responsibility in this required area, including:

  • Providing logistical support as needed for successful Consortium operations (e.g., for communications with Research Programs, NCI, and pharmaceutical collaborators; for hosting and documenting Steering Committee teleconferences/webinars; for organizing annual face-to-face meetings; for coordination of shipments of agents supplied by pharmaceutical companies or other entities to Research Programs, etc.).
  • Providing a site for the confidential sharing of documents across the PPTC.
  • Providing an interactive web page to publicize the Consortium, to announce the availability of Consortium-supported resources, and to receive input from external investigators.
  • Establishing and implementing of a Conflict of Interest Policy for the Consortium.

Sub-section C. Data Management and Statistical Support

Describe the development, implementation, and maintenance plans for each responsibility in this required area, including:

  • Collection of testing data from the Research Programs.
  • Statistical analysis of data collected from the Research Programs.
  • Bioinformatic analysis of testing results to relate treatment effects to molecular characteristics of the preclinical models studied.

Sub-section D. Consortium Scientific Coordination

Describe the development, implementation, and maintenance plans for each responsibility in this required area, including:

  • Contributing along with PPTC Research Program PD(s)/PI(s) to the scientific leadership of the PPTC and oversee the PPTC Steering Committee
  • A Manual of Operations and procedures manuals incorporating information and materials provided by the Research Programs.
  • A Quality Control/Quality Assurance (QC/QA) program for the PPTC.
  • Acquisition and shipping of tumor specimens and biological fluids as specified by approved research plans to the appropriate laboratories for testing.
  • Management of the Pharmacokinetic-Pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) Research Fund ($50,000 per year) to support conduct of PK-PD studies that are part of research plans approved by the PPTC Steering Committee.
  • Development and implementation of metrics for evaluating the performance of PPTC Research Programs.
  • Coordination of the preparation of manuscripts and of study reports for Pharmaceutical Collaborators describing testing results for agents evaluated by the PPTC.

Resource Sharing Plan: Individuals are required to comply with the instructions for the Resource Sharing Plans (Data Sharing Plan, Sharing Model Organisms, and Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS)) as provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide, with the following modification:

  • All applications, regardless of the amount of direct costs requested for any one year, should address a Data Sharing Plan.

Appendix:  Do not use the Appendix to circumvent page limits. Follow all instructions for the Appendix as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

Planned Enrollment Report

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Planned Enrollment Reports as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

PHS 398 Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report

When conducting clinical research, follow all instructions for completing Cumulative Inclusion Enrollment Report as described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide. 

3. Submission Dates and Times

Part I. Overview Information contains information about Key Dates. Applicants are encouraged to submit applications before the due date to ensure they have time to make any application corrections that might be necessary for successful submission.

Organizations must submit applications to Grants.gov (the online portal to find and apply for grants across all Federal agencies). Applicants must then complete the submission process by tracking the status of the application in the eRA Commons, NIH’s electronic system for grants administration. NIH and Grants.gov systems check the application against many of the application instructions upon submission. Errors must be corrected and a changed/corrected application must be submitted to Grants.gov on or before the application due date.  If a Changed/Corrected application is submitted after the deadline, the application will be considered late.

Applicants are responsible for viewing their application before the due date in the eRA Commons to ensure accurate and successful submission.

Information on the submission process and a definition of on-time submission are provided in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

4. Intergovernmental Review (E.O. 12372)

This initiative is not subject to intergovernmental review.

5. Funding Restrictions

All NIH awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Pre-award costs are allowable only as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

6. Other Submission Requirements and Information

Applications must be submitted electronically following the instructions described in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.  Paper applications will not be accepted.

Applicants must complete all required registrations before the application due date. Section III. Eligibility Information contains information about registration.

For assistance with your electronic application or for more information on the electronic submission process, visit Applying Electronically.

Important reminders:
All PD(s)/PI(s) must include their eRA Commons ID in the Credential field of the Senior/Key Person Profile Component of the SF424(R&R) Application Package. Failure to register in the Commons and to include a valid PD/PI Commons ID in the credential field will prevent the successful submission of an electronic application to NIH. See Section III of this FOA for information on registration requirements.

The applicant organization must ensure that the DUNS number it provides on the application is the same number used in the organization’s profile in the eRA Commons and for the System for Award Management. Additional information may be found in the SF424 (R&R) Application Guide.

See more tips for avoiding common errors.

Upon receipt, applications will be evaluated for completeness by the Center for Scientific Review and responsiveness by NCI, NIH. Applications that are incomplete and/or nonresponsive will not be reviewed.  

Post Submission Materials

Applicants are required to follow the instructions for post-submission materials, as described in NOT-OD-13-030.

Section V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria

Only the review criteria described below will be considered in the review process. As part of the NIH mission, all applications submitted to the NIH in support of biomedical and behavioral research are evaluated for scientific and technical merit through the NIH peer review system.

Overall Impact

Reviewers will provide an overall impact score to reflect their assessment of the likelihood for the project to exert a sustained, powerful influence on the research field(s) involved, in consideration of the following review criteria and additional review criteria (as applicable for the project proposed).

Scored Review Criteria

Reviewers will consider each of the review criteria below in the determination of scientific merit, and give a separate score for each. An application does not need to be strong in all categories to be judged likely to have major scientific impact. For example, a project that by its nature is not innovative may be essential to advance a field.

Significance

Does the project address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field? If the aims of the project are achieved, how will scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice be improved? How will successful completion of the aims change the concepts, methods, technologies, treatments, services, or preventative interventions that drive this field?

Investigator(s)    

Are the PD(s)/PI(s), collaborators, and other researchers well suited to the project? If Early Stage Investigators or New Investigators, or in the early stages of independent careers, do they have appropriate experience and training? If established, have they demonstrated an ongoing record of accomplishments that have advanced their field(s)? If the project is collaborative or multi-PD/PI, do the investigators have complementary and integrated expertise; are their leadership approach, governance and organizational structure appropriate for the project? 

In addition, specific to this FOA: How well does the PD(s)/PI(s) demonstrate an understanding of and ability to apply the principles of preclinical in vivo drug testing and in vitro drug testing to childhood cancer drug development as illustrated by their experience and by their application? How well does the team assembled by the PD(s)/PI(s) appear suited to address the multiple responsibilities of the PPTP Coordinating Center, including project management, data management, statistical and bioinformatic analysis, communication, and scientific writing?

Innovation

Does the application challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions? Are the concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions novel to one field of research or novel in a broad sense? Is a refinement, improvement, or new application of theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions proposed?

Approach

Are the overall strategy, methodology, and analyses well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project? Are potential problems, alternative strategies, and benchmarks for success presented? If the project is in the early stages of development, will the strategy establish feasibility and will particularly risky aspects be managed?

In addition, specific to this FOA: Are the structure and activities proposed for the PPTP Coordinating Center adequate to meet the PPTC's needs for the central coordination of research activities for the preclinical testing to be performed by the PPTC Research Programs? Does the application adequately address each of the three required areas of responsibility? Specifically, to what degree does the applicant's approach to Consortium Administrative Coordination address the requirements for the PPTC in this area?  How adequate is the applicant's proposed approach to Data Management and Statistical Support? Does the applicant provide an approach to Consortium Scientific Coordination that will address the requirements of the Consortium?

If the project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, are the plans to address 1) the protection of human subjects from research risks, and 2) inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion or exclusion of children, justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed?  

Environment

Will the scientific environment in which the work will be done contribute to the probability of success? Are the institutional support, equipment and other physical resources available to the investigators adequate for the project proposed? Will the project benefit from unique features of the scientific environment, subject populations, or collaborative arrangements?   

Additional Review Criteria

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will evaluate the following additional items while determining scientific and technical merit, and in providing an overall impact score, but will not give separate scores for these items.

Protections for Human Subjects

For research that involves human subjects but does not involve one of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate the justification for involvement of human subjects and the proposed protections from research risk relating to their participation according to the following five review criteria: 1) risk to subjects, 2) adequacy of protection against risks, 3) potential benefits to the subjects and others, 4) importance of the knowledge to be gained, and 5) data and safety monitoring for clinical trials.

For research that involves human subjects and meets the criteria for one or more of the six categories of research that are exempt under 45 CFR Part 46, the committee will evaluate: 1) the justification for the exemption, 2) human subjects involvement and characteristics, and 3) sources of materials. For additional information on review of the Human Subjects section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Human Subjects.

Inclusion of Women, Minorities, and Children 

When the proposed project involves human subjects and/or NIH-defined clinical research, the committee will evaluate the proposed plans for the inclusion (or exclusion) of individuals on the basis of sex/gender, race, and ethnicity, as well as the inclusion (or exclusion) of children to determine if it is justified in terms of the scientific goals and research strategy proposed. For additional information on review of the Inclusion section, please refer to the Guidelines for the Review of Inclusion in Clinical Research.

Vertebrate Animals

The committee will evaluate the involvement of live vertebrate animals as part of the scientific assessment according to the following five points: 1) proposed use of the animals, and species, strains, ages, sex, and numbers to be used; 2) justifications for the use of animals and for the appropriateness of the species and numbers proposed; 3) adequacy of veterinary care; 4) procedures for limiting discomfort, distress, pain and injury to that which is unavoidable in the conduct of scientifically sound research including the use of analgesic, anesthetic, and tranquilizing drugs and/or comfortable restraining devices; and 5) methods of euthanasia and reason for selection if not consistent with the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. For additional information on review of the Vertebrate Animals section, please refer to the Worksheet for Review of the Vertebrate Animal Section.

Biohazards

Reviewers will assess whether materials or procedures proposed are potentially hazardous to research personnel and/or the environment, and if needed, determine whether adequate protection is proposed.

Resubmissions

Not Applicable

Renewals

Not Applicable

Revisions

Not Applicable

Additional Review Considerations

As applicable for the project proposed, reviewers will consider each of the following items, but will not give scores for these items, and should not consider them in providing an overall impact score.

Applications from Foreign Organizations

Not Applicable

Select Agent Research

Reviewers will assess the information provided in this section of the application, including 1) the Select Agent(s) to be used in the proposed research, 2) the registration status of all entities where Select Agent(s) will be used, 3) the procedures that will be used to monitor possession use and transfer of Select Agent(s), and 4) plans for appropriate biosafety, biocontainment, and security of the Select Agent(s).

Resource Sharing Plans

Reviewers will comment on whether the following Resource Sharing Plans, or the rationale for not sharing the following types of resources, are reasonable: 1) Data Sharing Plan; 2) Sharing Model Organisms; and 3) Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS).

Budget and Period of Support

Reviewers will consider whether the budget and the requested period of support are fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research.

2. Review and Selection Process

Applications will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by (an) appropriate Scientific Review Group(s) convened by the NCI in accordance with NIH peer review policy and procedures, using the stated review criteria. Assignment to a Scientific Review Group will be shown in the eRA Commons.

As part of the scientific peer review, all applications:

  • May undergo a selection process in which only those applications deemed to have the highest scientific and technical merit (generally the top half of applications under review) will be discussed and assigned an overall impact score.
  • Will receive a written critique.

Appeals of initial peer review will not be accepted for applications submitted in response to this FOA.

Applications will be assigned to the appropriate NIH Institute or Center. Applications will compete for available funds with all other recommended applications submitted in response to this FOA. Following initial peer review, recommended applications will receive a second level of review by the National Cancer Advisory Board. The following will be considered in making funding decisions:

  • Scientific and technical merit of the proposed project as determined by scientific peer review.
  • Availability of funds.
  • Relevance of the proposed project to program priorities.
3. Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

After the peer review of the application is completed, the PD/PI will be able to access his or her Summary Statement (written critique) via the eRA Commons

Information regarding the disposition of applications is available in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Section VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices

If the application is under consideration for funding, NIH will request "just-in-time" information from the applicant as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A formal notification in the form of a Notice of Award (NoA) will be provided to the applicant organization for successful applications. The NoA signed by the grants management officer is the authorizing document and will be sent via email to the grantee’s business official.

Awardees must comply with any funding restrictions described in Section IV.5. Funding Restrictions. Selection of an application for award is not an authorization to begin performance. Any costs incurred before receipt of the NoA are at the recipient's risk. These costs may be reimbursed only to the extent considered allowable pre-award costs.

Any application awarded in response to this FOA will be subject to terms and conditions found on the Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants website.  This includes any recent legislation and policy applicable to awards that is highlighted on this website.

2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements

All NIH grant and cooperative agreement awards include the NIH Grants Policy Statement as part of the NoA. For these terms of award, see the NIH Grants Policy Statement Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart A: General  and Part II: Terms and Conditions of NIH Grant Awards, Subpart B: Terms and Conditions for Specific Types of Grants, Grantees, and Activities. More information is provided at Award Conditions and Information for NIH Grants.

Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions of Award

The following special terms of award are in addition to, and not in lieu of, otherwise applicable U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) administrative guidelines, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) grant administration regulations at 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92 (Part 92 is applicable when State and local Governments are eligible to apply), and other HHS, PHS, and NIH grant administration policies.

The administrative and funding instrument used for this program will be the cooperative agreement, an "assistance" mechanism (rather than an "acquisition" mechanism), in which substantial NIH programmatic involvement with the awardees is anticipated during the performance of the activities. Under the cooperative agreement, the NIH purpose is to support and stimulate the recipients' activities by involvement in and otherwise working jointly with the award recipients in a partnership role; it is not to assume direction, prime responsibility, or a dominant role in the activities. Consistent with this concept, the dominant role and prime responsibility resides with the awardees for the project as a whole, although specific tasks and activities may be shared among the awardees and the NIH as defined below.

The PD(s)/PI(s) will have the primary responsibility for defining the objectives and approaches and providing oversight of all scientific and administrative activities of the PPTC Consortium Coordinating Center. Specific responsibilities are listed below.

Responsibilities of the PPTC Coordinating Center awardee will include:

Consortium Administrative Coordination:

  • Management of the PPTC Steering Committee, including organization of regular (e.g., monthly) teleconferences, preparation and distribution of agendas, and written documentation of Steering Committee discussions and decisions.
  • Organization of an annual meeting of PPTC Research Program awardees to occur in parallel to a major cancer research meeting (e.g., Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research). The goal of PPTC investigators meeting will be to review the PPTC’s progress, establish priorities, and plan future activities. Relevant responsibilities for meeting organization include:  (a) Arranging for appropriate meeting space for attendees; (b) Developing and distributing meeting agendas;  (c) Providing an overview of the status of recently completed and ongoing studies; and (d) Preparing summaries to be sent to PPTC members and NCI program staff.
  • Provision of other support as needed for successful Consortium operations (e.g., communications, subcommittee meetings, telephone conference calls, e-mail communications).
  • Development and maintenance of a site for the confidential sharing of documents (e.g., SharePoint) and for collaborative development of research plans, reports, and manuscripts.
  • Development and maintenance of an interactive web page to publicize the Consortium and to announce the availability of Consortium-supported resources and receive input from investigators.
  • Establishment and implementation of a Conflict of Interest Policy for the Consortium that is in compliance with all of the DHSS regulatory requirements for conflict of interest as outlined by NIH grants policy available at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/coi. The PPTC-Coordinating Center will implement this policy to ensure that there is no reasonable expectation that any investigator or staff member of the PPTC's central offices or at any of its Research Programs involved in the design, conduct, or reporting of research will be biased by any conflict of interest (using the definition of investigator provided in the NIH grants policy).

Data Management and statistical support. Areas of responsibility include, but are not limited to:

  • Development and implementation of standard procedures for data collection of testing results from the Research Programs.
  • Development and implementation of standard procedures for the statistical analysis of data collected from the Research Programs.
  • Development and implementation of procedures for bioinformatic analysis of testing results to relate treatment effects to molecular characteristics of the preclinical models studied.

Consortium Scientific Coordination:

  • Contribute along with PPTC Research Program PD(s)/PI(s) to the scientific leadership of the PPTC and oversee the PPTC Steering Committee.
  • Coordinate drug shipments of agents supplied by pharmaceutical companies or other entities to Research Programs.
  • Produce and maintain a Manual of Operations and procedures manuals incorporating information and materials provided by the Research Programs.
  • Develop and implement a Quality Control/Quality Assurance (QC/QA) program for the PPTC addressing, but not limited to, the following: (a) study monitoring to ensure that PPTC Research Program awardees are initiating testing in a timely manner and to identify problems with testing at an early time point so that corrective actions can be taken;  (b) documentation by Research Program awardees of regular identity testing of cell lines and xenografts;  (c) training functions that address data collection, data management, and overall data quality;  and (d) at least one site visit with each Research Program awardee to review compliance with research plan testing procedures, data management, records maintenance, and animal care facilities.
  • Manage and coordinate the acquisition and shipping of tumor specimens and biological fluids as specified by approved research plans to the appropriate laboratories for testing.
  • Manage the Pharmacokinetic-Pharmacodynamic (PK-PD) Research Fund ($50,000 per year) to support conduct of PK-PD studies that are part of research plans approved by the PPTC Steering Committee. PPTC or non-PPTC sites may be selected by the PPTC Steering Committee to perform this testing, based on their expertise and experience for the relevant assays.
  • Develop and implement metrics for evaluating the performance of PPTC Research Programs addressing, but not limited to, the following: (a) timely initiation of testing;  (b) timely and accurate submission of required data;  (c) conscientious observance of testing plan requirements;  (d) participation in the PPTC Steering Committee;  (e) timely participation in writing study reports and manuscripts based on PPTC testing results; and (f) preparation of summary reports describing the annual performance of Research Programs.
  • Coordinate preparation of Study Reports for Pharmaceutical Collaborators describing testing results for agents evaluated by the PPTC: The PPTC-Coordinating Center will be responsible for the following: (a) developing a study report template; (b) preparing a first draft of study reports; and (c) overseeing preparation of the study report with input from Research Program PD(s)/PI(s) as appropriate.
  • Coordinate preparation of manuscripts describing PPTC results, including: (a) developing a standard publication report template;  (b) coordinating writing and submission of manuscripts, with primary authorship by Research Program PD(s)/PI(s) as appropriate; and  (c) establishing  timelines for the development of abstracts for meeting presentations and manuscripts and mechanisms for monitoring the performance of the PPTC in meeting these timelines.

NIH staff will have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below:

A designated NCI Program staff member serving as Project Scientist will have substantial programmatic involvement that is above and beyond the normal stewardship role in awards, as described below. Additional NCI staff members may also become substantially involved as Project Scientists (as needed).

All the substantially involved NCI staff members (i.e., Project Scientists) will not attend peer review meetings of renewal or supplemental applications. If such participation is essential, these individuals will seek a waiver according to the NCI procedures for management of conflict of interest

Main responsibilities of NCI Project Scientists include the following:

  • Negotiating Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) with pharmaceutical companies: The Regulatory Affairs Branch (CTEP, NCI) will negotiate MTAs with pharmaceutical companies to allow testing of agents by the PPTC. MTAs will be based on the PPTC Model MTA template (see below).
  • Serving as a scientific resource with respect to other ongoing NCI activities that may be relevant to the Consortium research efforts to identify promising new research avenues, to facilitate compatibility with other NCI research projects, and to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort.
  • Assisting awardees by reviewing their research plans prior to submission to pharmaceutical companies and reviewing PPTC manuscripts prior to submission for publication.
  • Advising awardees regarding mechanisms for ensuring appropriate quality control of preclinical testing.
  • Meeting at least once per year with the Consortium (in addition to regular conference calls and electronic communications) to address issues related to Consortium research.
  • Participating in the Activities of the Consortium Steering Committee and its Scientific Meetings: The NCI Program Director and other selected NCI staff (e.g., from the Investigational Drug Branch, the Clinical Investigations Branch, and the Developmental Therapeutics Program) will be members of the Consortium Steering Committee (see below) and will attend the Consortium meetings to discuss relevant scientific information, to discuss progress in preclinical testing, and to discuss the status of newly available investigational agents and other research opportunities in order to plan future activities.
  • Reviewing compliance with Federally mandated regulatory requirements.
  • Monitoring Consortium progress: Actions necessary for monitoring may include, but are not limited to, the following: regular communications with the PPTC PD(s)/PI(s) and staff, periodic site visits for discussions with awardee research teams, fiscal review, review of study reports submitted by the Consortium to NCI, review of the Consortium’s annual progress report, and attendance at Consortium meetings. The NCI retains, as an option, the right to conduct periodic external reviews of progress.
  • Integrating the efforts of the PPTC with other NCI-supported programs for children with cancer (e.g., COG, the COG Phase 1 Consortium, and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium). NCI staff will organize regular meetings with leaders of these groups (at least two times a year) to confidentially review PPTC results so that clinical application of these results can proceed in a timely manner. 

NCI will have access to all data generated under this cooperative agreement and may review the data as necessary. The awardee will retain custody and primary rights to the data consistent with current HHS, PHS and NIH policies. The awardee will comply with the data access provisions of applicable MTAs, and when these agreements are in place the Industry Sponsor will have complete access to the data for any and all regulatory filings.

Agents tested will be provided by pharmaceutical collaborators and academic investigators under MTAs based on the provisions of a standard Model MTA (http://ctep.cancer.gov/MajorInitiatives/Pediatric_Preclinical_Testing_Program.htm).

The NCI reserves the right to adjust funding, withhold, suspend, or terminate the support to the PPTC awardee institution if it is unable to meet the performance requirements set forth in these Terms and Conditions of Award, or significantly change the level of performance.

An NCI Program staff member, acting as the Program Official, will be responsible for the normal scientific and programmatic stewardship of the award and will be named in the award notice. If this individual becomes substantially involved in the PPTC activities, he/she will not attend peer review meetings of renewal and/or supplemental applications or will seek NCI waiver if such participation is essential.

Areas of Joint Responsibility include:

  • The PPTC Steering Committee will serve as the body for prioritizing agents for evaluation by the PPTC, for defining the scope of research plans for agents selected for testing, and for approving the general SOPs under which the PPTC operates.  The Steering Committee will include:  the PD(s)/PI(s) of the PPTC-Coordinating Center and the PD(s)/PI(s) of each of the Research Programs, the NCI Program Director, and representatives from the CTEP Investigational Drug Branch, the CTEP Clinical investigations Branch, and the NCI Developmental Therapeutics Program. 
  • The Steering Committee may establish sub-committees for specific purposes.  The NCI Project Scientists will serve on such sub-committees, as they deem appropriate.
  • The Steering Committee is expected to form an Advisory Panel as a sub-committee. The Advisory Panel should include as members pediatric oncologists and preclinical testing experts, who are unaffiliated with the PPTC. The Advisory Panel should meet at least in Year 2 and Year 4 to formally review the progress of the PPTC.
  • On-site Auditing of Research Programs: The PPTC’s Research Program awardees will be visited at least one time during the 5-year award period, with a site visit occurring during the first 18 months of funding.  Testing procedures, data management, records maintenance, and animal care facilities will be reviewed. The site visits will be coordinated by the PPTC-Coordinating Center with NCI input. 

Dispute Resolution:

Any disagreements that may arise in scientific or programmatic matters (within the scope of the award) between award recipients and the NIH may be brought to Dispute Resolution. A Dispute Resolution Panel composed of three members will be convened. It will have three members: a designee of the Steering Committee chosen without NIH staff voting, one NIH designee, and a third designee with expertise in the relevant area who is chosen by the other two; in the case of individual disagreement, the first member may be chosen by the individual awardee. This special dispute resolution procedure does not alter the awardee's right to appeal an adverse action that is otherwise appealable in accordance with PHS regulation 42 CFR Part 50, Subpart D and DHHS regulation 45 CFR Part 16.

3. Reporting

When multiple years are involved, awardees will be required to submit the annual Non-Competing Progress Report (PHS 2590 or RPPR) and financial statements as required in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

A final progress report, invention statement, and the expenditure data portion of the Federal Financial Report are required for closeout of an award, as described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act), includes a requirement for awardees of Federal grants to report information about first-tier subawards and executive compensation under Federal assistance awards issued in FY2011 or later.  All awardees of applicable NIH grants and cooperative agreements are required to report to the Federal Subaward Reporting System (FSRS) available at www.fsrs.gov on all subawards over $25,000.  See the NIH Grants Policy Statement for additional information on this reporting requirement. 

Section VII. Agency Contacts

We encourage inquiries concerning this funding opportunity and welcome the opportunity to answer questions from potential applicants.

Application Submission Contacts

eRA Commons Help Desk (Questions regarding eRA Commons registration, submitting and tracking an application, documenting system problems that threaten submission by the due date, post submission issues)
Telephone: 301-402-7469 or 866-504-9552 (Toll Free)
Finding Help Online: http://grants.nih.gov/support/index.html
Email: commons@od.nih.gov

Grants.gov Customer Support (Questions regarding Grants.gov registration and submission, downloading forms and application packages)
Contact CenterTelephone: 800-518-4726
Web ticketing system: https://grants-portal.psc.gov/ContactUs.aspx
Email: support@grants.gov

GrantsInfo (Questions regarding application instructions and process, finding NIH grant resources)
Telephone: 301-435-0714
Email: GrantsInfo@nih.gov

Scientific/Research Contact(s)

Malcolm A. Smith, MD, PhD
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6087
Email: Malcolm.Smith@nih.gov

Peer Review Contact(s)

Referral Officer
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6390
Email: ncirefof@dea.nci.nih.gov

Financial/Grants Management Contact(s)

Shane Woodward
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Telephone: 240-276-6303
Email: Woodwars@mail.nih.gov

Section VIII. Other Information

Recently issued trans-NIH policy notices may affect your application submission. A full list of policy notices published by NIH is provided in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts. All awards are subject to the terms and conditions, cost principles, and other considerations described in the NIH Grants Policy Statement.

Authority and Regulations

Awards are made under the authorization of Sections 301 and 405 of the Public Health Service Act as amended (42 USC 241 and 284) and under Federal Regulations 42 CFR Part 52 and 45 CFR Parts 74 and 92.

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