Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Precompetitive Collaboration on Liquid Biopsy for Early Cancer Assessment (U01)

Notice Number: NOT-CA-17-059

Key Dates
Release Date:   May 11, 2017

Estimated Publication Date of Announcement: July 2017
First Estimated Application Due Date:  Fall 2017  
Earliest Estimated Award Date: June 2018
Earliest Estimated Start Date: July 2018  

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Cancer Institute (NCI)


The National Cancer Institute intends to promote a new initiative by publishing a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit applications for research on "Precompetitive Collaboration on Liquid Biopsy for Early Cancer Assessment." The purpose of this initiative is to establish a Public-Private Partnership Program to develop new and/or validate existing technologies, methods, and assays for the capture and quantification of tumor associated cells, DNA, RNA, or exosomes in body fluids of patients with early stage disease or those at high risk. The scope of research will encompass the advancement of technologies and the use of these technologies to develop assays for early cancer detection, which in combination with other classes of biomarkers, can distinguish cancer from benign disease, as well as aggressive from indolent cancers.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects. 

The FOA is expected to be published in July 2017 with an expected application due date in the Fall 2017.

This FOA will utilize the U01 activity code. Details of the planned FOA are provided below.

Research Initiative Details

This Notice encourages investigators with expertise and insights into this area of liquid biopsy for early cancer assessment to consider applying for this new FOA. Applicants should propose research on cancers that are likely to benefit from assessment by liquid biopsy such as: an organ type for which the current screening modalities result in a significant rate of overdiagnosis; where no tools exist for either noninvasive monitoring of disease progression from indolent to malignant cancer, or for early detection of high risk populations, i.e., genetic or familial predisposition; and for tumors that are inaccessible to tissue biopsy.
The FOA centers on three stages of research: (1) Development - emphasis will be placed on development and/or modification of existing technologies, methods, assays and tests for analytic verification and validation; (2) Harmonization -  emphasis will be placed on comparisons of sensitivity, accuracy, and reproducibility in detecting targets by different approaches using the same biospecimens; and (3) Application - emphasis will be placed on testing the clinical usage and a validation in appropriate cohorts that will include diverse/minority populations.

In addition, applicants are expected to develop partnerships with industrial scientists already engaged in developing technologies and point-of-care devices for verification of technology platforms and assays to accelerate their adoption in clinical settings.

This FOA will emphasize the highest standards of design, execution, and validation of technologies and assays and will require following strict standard operating procedures.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Please direct all inquiries to:
Lynn Sorbara, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute/Division of Cancer Prevention
Telephone: 240-276-7135