Four international teams have won the 2016/2017 Global Grant Challenge Competition, receiving a total of £71 million (about $88 million) to tackle leading challenges in cancer research.
Cancer Research UK, which sponsored the initiative, chose the projects for their potential to transform how we understand and treat cancer. The multidisciplinary teams will develop groundbreaking research into cancer, including:
- Women with and without ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): how to distinguish between them to reduce overtreatment. Jelle Wessling, at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NCI), will lead the study with U.S., British and Dutch colleagues.
“Millions of women attend breast screening every year, but often lesions show up that will never go on to turn into full-blown breast cancer,” Wessling said on the project’s home page. “Because doctors don’t know which of these lesions could be dangerous, they often treat women just in case. In our project, we will study thousands of these lesions in great detail to understand which are low- and high-risk and help doctors to make more informed decisions about treatment.”
- The DNA damage associated with different cancers, the reasons behind them and possible prevention mechanisms. Mike Stratton, at Cambridge, will lead the study with U.S., French and British collaborators.
- New and existing technologies to represent tumors visually: developing a global database that catalogs patients’ genetic makeup and metabolism. Josephine Bunch, at London’s National Physical Laboratory, will lead the study in collaboration with U.S. and British researchers.
- Creating a virtual reality 3D tumor map to examine the cellular and molecular makeup of an entire tumor to improve diagnosis and treatment. Greg Hannon, at Cambridge, will lead the study with Swiss, Irish, Canadian, U.S. and British collaborators.
“When we began the Grand Challenge, we sought scientific adventurers — people willing to come together in new ways, to think differently, and bring novel approaches to answer the big questions in cancer,” Rick Klausner, chair of the Grand Challenge advisory panel and former director of the NCI, said in a press release.These unique teams have done just that.”
New challenges will be announced this summer. If you have a project suitable for the Grand Challenge, please submit your application now.