Notice of Intent to Publish Requests for Applications for the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP) (U01)

Notice Number: NOT-ES-09-007

Key Dates
Release Date:    July, 23 2009

Issued by
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (
National Cancer Institute (


The National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) intend to promote a new initiative by publishing a set of Requests for Applications (RFA) to solicit applications for research on the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP). These activities will support parallel ongoing epidemiological investigations and new laboratory and epidemiological studies on environmental influences on breast cancer risk. The BCERP is among a select few NIH projects supporting transdisciplinary research on the interaction of environmental factors, including chemical, physical, biological, and social environmental, with genetic factors within windows of susceptibility throughout a woman’s lifespan.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects.
These FOAs are expected to be published in September 2009 with an expected receipt date of November 30, 2009.

These FOAs will utilize the U01 mechanism. Details of the planned funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) are provided below.

Research Initiative Details

This Notice encourages investigators with expertise and insights into this area of the role of environmental exposures on the development of the mammary gland and breast cancer risk to begin to consider applying for these new FOAs. In addition, collaborative investigations combining expertise in epidemiology, laboratory-based investigation, and community outreach and translation will be encouraged and these investigators should also begin considering applying for this application.

Among the areas of research encouraged in this initiative are research examining the mechanisms that underlie the effects of environmental exposure on female development, reproductive health, and breast cancer risk across the lifespan, as well as research designed to improve the translation of existing knowledge of the effects of common exposures and psychosocial stress into strategies for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. Thus, the research supported by the FOAs will consist of multi-disciplinary research teams drawn from networks or other collaborative groups to conduct high-quality, transdisciplinary research in the environmental health aspects of breast cancer.

The FOAs to be issued invite applications from eligible institutions to participate in:

  1. Environmental Influences during Windows of Susceptibility & Breast Cancer Risk, RFA-ES-09-009 (U01). This arm of the program will support novel experimental and clinical studies focusing on the gene – environment interaction and molecular mechanisms of windows of susceptibility over the life span. This arm allows for studies including human subjects, animal models, and/or cellular and molecular studies. Multiple-PI projects are encouraged to promote a multidisciplinary approach. Grantees will be required to partner with breast cancer advocates and/or members of the engaged community.

  2. The Breast Cancer & the Environment Research Coordinating Center, RFA-ES-09-010 (U01).  The primary function of the Coordinating Center will be storage, management, and analysis support for data collected from biosamples and questionnaire collected from all the study participants for the study, ”Early Environmental Exposures” (see above), and will facilitate collaborations among epidemiologic and laboratory studies as well as outreach and dissemination. The Coordinating Center will manage pooled data and facilitate site-specific and pooled data analyses; organize the Steering Committee, sub-committees, and meetings among supported investigators to enhance collaborations, organize a National Scientific and Public Update Meeting, support the operations of a consulting Breast Cancer and the Environment Working Group, and administer an Opportunities Fund to enhance collaborations, provide pilot project funds, and to exploit emerging opportunities. NIH Staff will interact closely to facilitate operation of the Coordinating Center.

The BCERP has been groundbreaking in its transdisciplinary approaches; that is, a methodology and practice that utilizes multiple forms of expertise, including community members and activists in an integrated fashion so as to generate new hypotheses and tools. The program optimized involvement of community members and advocates in the research process to consider the etiology of environmental impact on breast cancer at the genetic, metabolic, cellular, individual, and environmental, at the physical, as well as social levels. The next phase of the program is intended to complete the initial population study, to expand upon the recent findings of the BCERP in identifying biomarkers of common exposures, links to genetic polymorphisms, chemical agent-induced changes on mammary gland architecture and cellular phenotypes, and to continue efforts to include and inform the engaged breast cancer community. In addition, efforts will be made to stimulate basic and applied research to exploit the latest concepts in breast cancer pathogenesis and environmental health.



Interested parties may contact:                                                                                                   

Leslie Reinlib, PhD
Division of Extramural Research & Training
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
530 Davis Drive; Room 3072
Research Triangle Park, NC 27713 (for regular/express/courier delivery)
Telephone: (919) 541-4998
Fax: (919) 316-4606

Gary L. Ellison, PhD, MPH
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
National Cancer Institute
6130 Executive Boulevard, EPN Room 5108, MSC 7324
Bethesda, MD 20892-7324 (for U.S. Postal Service express or regular mail)
Rockville, MD 20852 (for express/courier delivery)
Telephone: (301) 402-1853
 Fax: (301) 402-4279

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NIH Funding Opportunities and Notices

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