In 2012, The Myeloproliferative Neoplasm (MPN) Research Foundation and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) jointly issued the MF Challenge Grant , seeking innovative approaches to reversing fibrosis in patients with myelofibrosis (MF). The challenge resulted in many high quality applications, therefore, the two organizations are continuing with a second round of applications.
Applicants for this concept grant program will have until April 1, 2013 to submit their proposal for funding of up to $100,000 per grant. The grant review will take place in May 2013.
"Concept grants" are used to identify innovative and novel approaches to an issue. Since the objective is to identify and fund new approaches to fibrosis, applicants are not required to have preliminary data. Success for a grant is defined as proving an idea is worth pursuing further.
Fibrosis is the formation of excessive fibrous connective tissue in place of healthy tissue. The disease myelofibrosis (one of the myeloproliferative neoplasms) is characterized by fibrosis in the bone marrow. Though some patients may live for many years with relatively mild symptoms, others have a much bleaker outlook. The only potential cure for MF is a stem cell transplant, which is an option for only a small number of MF patients. The disease in a small proportion of MF patients can transform to acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a highly lethal type of blood and bone marrow cancer that progresses rapidly. MPN Research Foundation President Barbara Van Husen says this grant program has already stimulated scientific interest in myelofibrosis.
"It is our hope that by bringing a broad range of experts to focus on myelofibrosis we can capitalize on important research in other areas of fibrosis and cancer research for the benefit of MPN patients and many others," Van Husen said.
"LLS aggressively and proactively searches for opportunities to improve the lives of patients by funding areas of research addressing critical unmet medical needs. The lack of a cure for the majority of patients with myelofibrosis presents a challenge that we must address, said Richard C. Winneker, Ph.D., LLS senior vice president, research. "LLS looks forward to our continued partnership with the MPN Research Foundation for a second year to meet the challenge for patients with myelofibrosis."