INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE MOLECULAR ANALYSIS OF CANCER:  SBIR/STTR
INITIATIVE

Release Date:  May 8, 1998

PA NUMBER:  PAR-98-066

P.T.

National Cancer Institute

Letter of Intent Receipt Dates:  July 2; November 5, 1998; and March 5, 1999
Application Receipt Dates:  August 7; December 10, 1998; and April 9, 1999

PURPOSE

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) invites Small Business applications for
research projects to develop novel technologies that will support the molecular
analysis of cancers and their host environment in support of basic, clinical, and
epidemiological research.  This program will utilize the Small Business
Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR)
mechanisms, but will be run in parallel with a program of identical scientific
scope that will utilize the newly created Phased Innovation Award mechanism
(PAR-98-067).  The SBIR and STTR applications received in response to this
announcement will undergo expedited review, have the opportunity for expedited
transition of successful technology research into an expanded development phase,
and will be subject to cost and duration limits comparable to the parallel Phased
Innovation Award applications.  Technologies to be supported encompass methods
and tools that enable research, including, but not limited to, instrumentation,
techniques, devices, and analysis tools (e.g., computer software), but which are
distinct from resources such as databases and tissue repositories.  Applications
for support of such resources will not be considered to be responsive to this
Program Announcement (PA).  Technologies solicited include those that are
suitable for the detection of alterations and instabilities of genomic DNA;
monitoring of the expression of genes and gene products; analysis and detection
of the cellular localization, post-translational modification, and function of
proteins; and monitoring of major signal transduction networks involved in
cancer.  This program announcement is intended to support the development of all
required components toward the development of fully integrated systems for
analysis including front end preparation of sample materials from cells, bodily
fluids, and tumor specimens; novel chemistries or contrast agents; molecular
detection systems; data acquisition methods; and data analysis tools. 
Technologies under consideration include those that will support molecular
analysis either in vitro, in situ, or in vivo (by imaging or other methods) in
the discovery process, as well as in clinical application.

This program announcement must be read in conjunction with the "Omnibus
Solicitation of the Public Health Service for Small Business Innovation Research
Grant Applications (PHS 98-2)," and the "Omnibus Solicitation of the National
Institutes of Health for Small Business Technology Transfer Grant Applications
(PHS 98-3)."  All of the instructions within the Omnibus Solicitations apply with
the following exceptions:

þ Special receipt dates
þ Initial review convened by the NCI Division of Extramural Activities
þ Additional review considerations

HEALTHY PEOPLE 2000

The Public Health Service (PHS) is committed to achieving the health promotion
and disease prevention objectives of "Healthy People 2000," a PHS-led national
activity for setting priority areas.  This PA, Innovative Technologies for the
Molecular Analysis of Cancer: SBIR/STTR Initiative, is related to the priority
area of cancer.  Potential applicants may obtain a copy of "Healthy People 2000"
(Full Report:  Stock No. 017-001-00474-0 or Summary Report:  Stock No.
017-001-00473-1) through the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing
Office, Washington, DC 20402-9325 (telephone 202-512-1800).

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Eligibility requirements for SBIR and STTR are described in the NIH Omnibus
Solicitation for SBIR/STTR grant applications.  As stated in the REVIEW
CONSIDERATIONS section, applications submitted in response to this PA will be
reviewed by one or more NCI Special Emphasis Panels convened especially for this
solicitation.

MECHANISM OF SUPPORT

A.  FAST-TRACK APPLICATIONS.  Applications may be submitted for the FAST-TRACK
review option.  Information on the FAST-TRACK process may be found at:
http://www.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbir.htm.  Applications will be accepted only
on the three receipt dates listed on the first page of this document.

Applications submitted through the FAST-TRACK option are subject to the same
direct costs limits per year as when submitted outside of the FAST-TRACK option:
Phase I (R41/43), normally not to exceed $100,000 per year; Phase II (R42/44),
no dollar limit.  However, the total duration (Phase I and Phase II application)
cannot exceed four years.  In any case, the Phase I application cannot exceed two
years duration.

B.  INDIVIDUAL  PHASE I APPLICATIONS.  Phase I applications in response to this
PA will be funded as Phase I SBIR Grants (R43) or STTR Grants (R41) with
modifications as described below.  Responsibility for the planning, direction,
and execution of the proposed research will be solely that of the applicant.
Applications for Phase I grants should be prepared following the directions for
Phase I SBIR/STTR applications as described in the NIH Omnibus Solicitation.  The
NIH Omnibus SBIR Solicitation is available on the Internet at: 
http://www.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbir1/SBIR.HTM

The NIH OMNIBUS STTR Solicitation is available at:
http://www.nih.gov/grants/funding/sttr1/toc.htm

A limited number of hard copies of the NIH Omnibus SBIR and STTR Solicitations
are available from:

PHS SBIR/STTR Solicitation Office
13685 Baltimore Avenue
Laurel, MD  20707-5096
Telephone:  (301) 206-9696
FAX:  (301) 206-9722
Email:  a2y@cu.nih.gov

Project Period and Amount of Award.  Because the length of time and cost of
research involving advanced technology projects often exceeds that normally
awarded for SBIR/STTR grants, NCI will entertain well-justified Phase I
applications with a project period up to two years and a budget not to exceed
$100,000 per year  direct cost (maximum of $200,000 direct costs up to 2 yrs).

Page Limitations.  The requirements for normal Phase I applications apply (see
NIH Omnibus Solicitation).

C.  INDIVIDUAL PHASE II APPLICATIONS

Phase II applications in response to this PA will be awarded as Phase II SBIR
Grants (R44) or STTR Grants (R42) with modifications as described below.  Phase
II applications in response to this PA will only be accepted as competing
continuations of previously funded NIH Phase I SBIR/STTR awards.  The Phase II
application must be a logical extension of the Phase I research.

Applications for Phase II awards should be prepared following the instructions
for NIH Phase II SBIR/STTR applications.  The Phase II SBIR instructions and
application may be found on the Internet at:
http://www.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbir2/index.htm

The Phase II STTR instructions and application may be found on the Internet at: 
http://www.nih.gov/grants/funding/STTR2/index.html

Project Period and Amount of Award.  Because the length of time and cost of
research often exceeds that normally awarded for SBIR grants, NCI will entertain
well-justified Phase II applications for this SBIR/STTR award with a project
period up to three years with no budget limitation.

Applications over $500,000.  Although the Phase II application has no official
budgetary limit, applications requesting in excess of $500,000 dollars direct
costs in any single year of the grant period require prior approval before
submission.  Applicants who plan to submit a Phase II SBIR/STTR application
requesting $500,000 or more in any year are advised that it is important that
they contact program staff listed under INQUIRIES as they begin to develop plans.
Applications requesting more than $500,000 received without prior staff contact
may be delayed in the review process or returned to the applicant without review
(NIH GUIDE, Volume 22, Number 45, December 17, 1993).

BACKGROUND

In the past several decades, it has become clear that cancer is not one disease
but many, and that cancers arise as the result of the gradual accumulation of
genetic changes in single cells. Identifying which subset of the genes encoded
within the human genome can contribute to the development of cancer remains a
challenge.  The identification of these þcancer genes' remains a high priority
in cancer research.  Identifying the molecular alterations that distinguish any
particular cancer cell from a normal cell will ultimately help to define the
nature and predict the pathologic behavior of that cancer cell, as well as the
responsiveness to treatment of that particular tumor.  By understanding the
profile of molecular changes in any particular cancer it will become possible to
correlate the resulting phenotype of that cancer with molecular events. 
Resulting knowledge will offer the potential for a better understanding of cancer
biology, the discovery of new tools and biomarkers for detection, diagnosis, and
prevention studies, and new targets for therapeutic development.

The definition of the molecular profiles of cancer will require the development
and dissemination of enhanced molecular analysis technologies, as well as
elucidation of all of the molecular species encoded in genomes of cancer and
normal cells. To this end, the NCI has established the Cancer Genome Anatomy
Project (CGAP), which will put in place the tools that will allow deciphering of
the molecular anatomy of a cancer cell at the DNA, RNA and protein levels. The
NCI is currently targeting two objectives in the CGAP.  The first is the
establishment of an index (Tumor Gene Index) identifying genes that are expressed
in normal, precancerous, and cancerous cells. This project is well under way and
further information about the Index can be found at
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ncicgap/.  The second objective is the support for
the development and dissemination to basic and clinical researchers of novel
technologies that will allow high-throughput analysis of genetic alterations,
expression of genome products, and monitoring of signal transduction pathways in
cancers. Products of this PA are intended to contribute to this goal.

Improved molecular analysis tools will not only allow for the more careful
examination of the molecular basis and profiles of cancer, but will also provide
the ability to identify the molecular characteristics of individuals that
influence cancer development and prognosis.  These tools will allow for an
examination of genetic factors that influence an individual's likelihood to
develop cancer or their ability to respond to damaging external agents, such as
radiation and carcinogens.  Correlating the molecular variations between
individuals with therapeutic or toxic responses to treatment and prevention
measures should define genetic factors that influence the efficacy and safety of
these strategies and agents (pharmacogenomics).  Identification of molecular
markers in the individual that characterize the body's response to the onset or
clearance of disease will allow for the development of biomarkers to track and
even image the efficacy of therapy (therametrics) and prevention, as well as the
onset of secondary cancers.  The ability to completely screen the genome for
variations should enable tracking of the damage to the genome from exogenous
agents such as carcinogens and radiation.

In order to fully understand cancer and define the molecular response of the host
to cancer, it will be critical to not only have knowledge at the DNA level, but
to have a complete understanding of the processing of genetic information in
cellular function. Current discoveries indicate that alterations in many of the
cellular processes, pathways, or networks may contribute to the genesis of
cancer.  Therefore, it is important to put in place technologies that can detect
molecular changes in the cell without preconceived ideas about which information
will be most valuable to monitor or which technologies will have the greatest
impact. It is currently possible to monitor very specific changes in the
expression and function of genes and gene products at the DNA, RNA, or protein
level.  However, many existing technologies do not adequately address technical
issues specific to the study of cancer in vitro and in vivo, such as limited cell
number, sample heterogeneity, heterogeneity of specimen types (i.e. bodily fluids
and waste, tissues, cells), and cost effectiveness.  Adaptation of novel
technologies to support use in cancer research, including use on tumor specimens,
and in patient imaging, is encouraged.

In the discovery phase, it will be of great utility to have technologies that can
effectively scan variations or functions, in many or all members of the
populations of DNA, RNA or protein molecules present in cells through  highly
multiplexed analysis.  Current technologies for the multiplexed analysis of
molecular species are at a stage where the greatest utility exists for the
analysis of large numbers of relatively homogeneous cell populations that can be
assayed in vitro. While many of the existing technologies have relatively
sophisticated multiplexing capability in the assay format of the system, none of
the existing systems is comprehensive for any particular molecular species  (DNA,
RNA or protein).  In addition, none of the existing systems for in vitro analysis
have well integrated sample preparation components that maintain the cost
efficiencies of the assay system and effectively accommodate human tumor
specimens. Similarly, data analysis tools for interpreting the information from
highly multiplexed molecular analyses have not been sufficiently developed and
tested for use in the context of both basic and clinical cancer research
questions. Therefore, the opportunity exists for further development to insure
that resulting technologies provide enhanced assay potential, adequate
sensitivity and discrimination, robust data analysis tools, and are easily
adapted to both the basic and clinical research settings.

Translation of new in vitro technologies for the multiplexed analysis of
molecular species in clinical specimens will require a multidisciplinary team
approach with broad expertise in a variety of research areas. Such varied
expertise including expertise in pathology, specimen acquisition and preparation,
informatics, and biostatistics exists in ongoing cancer centers and clinical
trials cooperative groups. The coordination and collaboration of investigators
from these various disciplines to demonstrate the utility and applicability of
new analytical tools in clinical and population based studies is considered to
be a high priority.

Existing technologies for molecular analysis are also largely restricted to in
vitro analysis.  While these systems are suitable for discovery and many basic
and clinical research questions, they are limited in their ability to offer
information relative to molecular changes in real time and in the appropriate
context of the intact cell or body. Therefore, the development of technologies
such as imaging that will support the in situ and in vivo monitoring of molecular
activity is considered to be essential.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

The purpose of this program announcement is to encourage applications from
individuals and groups interested in developing novel technologies suitable for
the molecular analysis of cancers and their host environment in support of basic,
clinical, and epidemiologic research. Technologies to support research in the
following areas are considered to be appropriate.  Examples given below are not
intended to be all inclusive, but are illustrative of the types of capabilities
that are of interest.

New tools that allow development of a more complete molecular profile of normal,
precancerous, and cancerous cells, as well as the process of carcinogenesis, are
needed to support the basic discovery process. These tools will also allow a more
thorough examination of the variations that influence predisposition to cancer,
and individual variability in response to therapeutic and prevention agents. Of
interest are technologies and data analaysis tools for:

-- In vitro scanning of or identification of the sites of chromosomal aberrations
which reflect inherited aberrations or somatic alterations resulting from aging
or oxidation, or exposure to radiation or carcinogens, including those that are
suitable for scaling for use across whole genomes, detecting DNA adducts, or
detecting rare variants in mixed populations.

-- In vitro scanning for and identification of sites of mutations and
polymorphisms which reflect inherited aberrations or somatic alterations
resulting from aging or oxidation, or exposure to radiation or carcinogens, 
including those that are suitable for scaling for screening whole genomes,
detecting DNA adducts, or identifying infrequently represented mutations in mixed
populations of DNA molecules

-- Highly specific and sensitive detection of specific  mutations

-- Detecting mismatch and recombinational DNA repair related to cancer
susceptibility

-- In vitro multiplexed analysis of the expression of genes

-- Computer assisted quantitation of gene expression in histological samples

-- In vitro  detection of expression of proteins and their modified forms, 
including technologies suitable for expansion to profiling of all proteins
expressed in cells, detecting rare variants in mixed populations, and detecting
protein adducts involved in chemical mutation

-- Monitoring the function of proteins and  genetic pathways, including
measurement of ligand-protein complexes and technologies for monitoring protein
function of all members of a class of proteins or a complete genetic pathway.

Translation of the utility of the technologies described above and basic research
findings into in vitro tools for clinical research and clinical application
requires additional technological innovation with regard to sample preparation,
enhanced sensitivity, and expanded data analysis tools.  Of interest are
technologies for:

-- In vitro sample and specimen preparation that is suitable for human tissues
and tumor (including solid tumor) specimens that interface with molecular
analysis tools of the type listed above

-- Detecting DNA mutations and polymorphisms, and functional proteins in biologic
fluids such as serum, plasma, nipple aspirates, bronchioalveolar lavage, sputum,
urine, pancreatic juice, colonic wash, and bladder wash

During the basic discovery process enhanced capability is needed to determine the
influence of various molecular alterations or factors in the context of the whole
cell or whole body analysis of model organisms. Similarly, substantial
opportunity exists for improvements in approaches to monitor molecular events
non-invasively in humans in support of both clinical research and patient care. 
Of interest are  technologies suitable for:

-- Delineating molecular expression or function in situ including imaging
technologies related to the energy source-detector, contrast agents, and data
analysis tools

-- Delineating molecular expression or function at the cellular level in the
context of the whole body, including imaging technologies related to the energy
source-detector, contrast agents, and data analysis tools

Applications may request support for the development of individual components of
the final system, for example, front-end sample preparation components for in
vitro systems, molecular detection systems, data acquisition systems, and data
analysis tools.  Issues related to the integration of the entire analysis process
should be discussed particularly in the context of the Phase II application.

For all technologies proposed it will be important to substantiate the ultimate
value of and role for the technology in deciphering the molecular anatomy of
cancer cells or analyzing the molecular profile of the individual. Applications
may request support for the development of individual components of the final
system, for example, front-end sample preparation components for in vitro
systems, molecular detection systems, data acquisition systems, and data analysis
tools.  Issues related to the integration of the entire analysis process should
be discussed particularly in the context of the Phase II application.  It is also
important for applicants to discuss the ultimate potential for the transfer of
ensuing technology to other laboratories or the clinic, and for more mature
technologies, plans to ensure dissemination of the technology.  In the case of
technologies intended for use on clinical specimens or in patients, applications
from or collaborations with investigators involved in the clinical research of
cancer are encouraged.

The focus of this Program Announcement is technology development.  Support will
not be provided for mechanistic studies of basic questions.  Although testing on
biological samples or in whole organisms in the course of validating the
technology is appropriate.

INCLUSION OF WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of the NIH that women and members of minority groups and their
subpopulations must be included in all NIH supported biomedical and behavioral
research projects involving human subjects, unless a clear and compelling
rationale and justification is provided that inclusion is inappropriate with
respect to the health of the subjects or the purpose of the research.  This
policy results from the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (Section 492B of Public
Law 103-43).

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the
"NIH Guidelines For Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical
Research," which have been published in the Federal Register of March 28, 1994
(FR 59 14508-14513) and in the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 23,
Number 11, March 18, 1994.

Investigators also may obtain copies of the policy from the program staff listed
under INQUIRIES.  Program staff may also provide additional relevant information
concerning the policy.

NIH POLICY AND GUIDELINES ON THE INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN
RESEARCH INVOLVING HUMAN SUBJECTS

It is the policy of NIH that children (i.e., individuals under the age of 21)
must be included in all human subjects research, conducted or supported by the
NIH, unless there are clear and compelling scientific and ethical reasons not to
include them.  This policy applies to all initial (Type 1) applications submitted
for receipt dates after October 1, 1998.  Therefore, the policy does not apply
to applications submitted on the August 7, 1998 receipt date.

All investigators proposing research involving human subjects should read the
"NIH Policy and Guidelines on the Inclusion of Children as Participants in
Research Involving Human Subjects" that was published in the NIH Guide for Grants
and Contracts, March 6, 1998, and is available at the following URL address:
http://www.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-024.html

As part of the scientific and technical merit evaluation of the research plan,
reviewers will be instructed to address the adequacy of plans for including
children as appropriate for the scientific goals of the research, or
justification for exclusion.

LETTER OF INTENT

Prospective applicants are asked to submit, by the dates listed on the first page
of this announcement, a letter of intent that includes a descriptive title of the
proposed research, the name, address, and telephone number of the Principal
Investigator, the identities of other key personnel and participating
institutions, and the number and title of the PA. 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  NCI staff to estimate the
potential review workload and avoid conflict of interest in the review.

The letter of intent is to be sent to Dr. Carol Dahl at the address listed under
INQUIRIES.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES

OMNIBUS SOLICITATIONS for both the SBIR and STTR programs are available
electronically through the NIH, Office of Extramural Research "Small Business
Funding Opportunities" web site at http://www.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbir.htm. 
Hard copies, subject to availability, may be obtained from the PHS SBIR/STTR
Solicitation Office, phone (301) 206-9385; FAX (301) 206-9722; email
a2y@cu.nih.gov.  Helpful information for preparation of the application can be
obtained: http://www.nih.gov/grants/funding/sbirsttradvice.htm

Applications are to be submitted on the grant application form PHS 6246-1 (1/98)
(SBIR) and PHS 6246-3 (STTR) (1/98) located in the back pages of the OMNIBUS
SOLICITATIONS, and will be accepted at the application deadlines as indicated on
the first page of this document.  The title and number of this PA must be typed
in Line 2 on the face page of the application.

The OMNIBUS SOLICITATIONS give the normal levels of support and period of time
for SBIR and STTR Phase I and II awards.  However, these award levels are
guidelines and not ceilings.  (See NIH Guide, February 12, 1998: 
http://www.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not98-01.4.html).  Therefore, 
larger budgets with longer periods of time may be requested if required to
complete the proposed research.  As stated under MECHANISM OF SUPPORT section,
Phase I applications submitted in response to this PA can have a project period
of up to two years and a budget not to exceed $100,000 per year direct cost. 
Phase II applications submitted in response to this PA have no budget
limitations.  However, the total duration (Phase I and Phase II application)
cannot exceed four years.

In order to apply for the FAST-TRACK option, applications for both Phase I and
Phase II must be submitted together according to the instructions for Fast-Track
applications as described in the OMNIBUS SOLICITATIONS.  The Phase I application
must specify clear, measurable goals that should be achieved prior to Phase II
funding.  Failure to provide measurable goals and sufficient detail  may be
sufficient reason for the peer review committee to exclude the Phase II
application from Fast-Track review.  If so, at a later date, the applicant may
apply for Phase II support through normal application procedures.  Such
applications will be reviewed by a standard Study Section of the Center for
Scientific Review or by a special review group convened in response to a re-
issuance of this PAR, if applicable.

Additional requirements of the Fast-Track procedure is the commitment for funds
and/or resources for commercialization of the product (Commitment appendix to the
Phase II application) and a concise Product Development Plan Appendix to the
Phase II application.  If such commitment is from an  investor or partner
organization, a letter must be provided describing the details of the agreement
The Commitment and Product Development Plan Appendices should be labeled clearly.

The completed original application and one legible copies must be sent or
delivered to:

CENTER FOR SCIENTIFIC REVIEW
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
6701 ROCKLEDGE DRIVE, ROOM 1040 - MSC 7710
BETHESDA, MD  20892-7710
BETHESDA, MD  20817 (for express/courier service)

To expedite the review process, at the time of submission, send one additional
copy of the application to:

Ms. Toby Friedberg
Referral Officer
National Cancer Institute
6130 Executive Boulevard, Room 636a, MSC 7405
Bethesda, MS 20892-7405
Rockville, MD 20852 (for overnight/courier service)
Telephone:  (301) 496-3428
FAX:  (301) 402-0275

Applications must be received by the receipt dates listed at the beginning of
this program announcement.

REVIEW CONSIDERATIONS

Upon receipt, applications will be reviewed by the CSR for completeness and by
the NCI program staff for responsiveness.  Applications not adhering to
application instructions described above and those applications that are
incomplete or non-responsive as determined by CSR or by NCI program staff will
be returned to the applicant without review.

Applications will be reviewed for scientific and technical merit by one or more
Special Emphasis Panels convened by the NCI Division of Extramural Activities. 
Following scientific-technical review, the applications will receive a
second-level review by the National Cancer Advisory Board.

As part of the initial merit review, a process may be used by the initial review
group in which applications will be determined to be competitive or
non-competitive based on their scientific merit relative to other applications
received in response to the PA.  Applications judged to be competitive will be
discussed and be assigned a priority score.  Applications determined to be
non-competitive will be withdrawn from further consideration and the Principal
Investigator and the official signing for the applicant organization will be
notified.

Review Criteria

Review criteria are described in the NIH Omnibus Solicitation and are as follows:

1.  The soundness and technical merit of the proposed research. (Preliminary data
are not required for Phase I proposals.

2.  The qualifications of the proposed principal investigator, supporting staff,
and consultants.

3.  The scientific, technical, or technological innovation of the proposed
research.

4.  The potential of the proposed research for commercial application or societal
impact.

5.  The appropriateness of the budget requested.

6.  The adequacy and suitability of the facilities and research environment.

7.  Where applicable, the adequacy of assurances detailing the proposed means for
(a) safeguarding human or animal subjects and/or (b) protecting against or
minimizing any adverse effect on the environment.

For Fast-Track,  Phase I application should specify clear, measurable goals
(milestones) that should be achieved prior to initiating Phase II. Failure to
provide clear, measurable goals may be sufficient reason for the study section
to judge the application non-competitive.

In addition to the standard review criteria as described in the NIH Omnibus
Solicitation, the reviewers will comment on the five following aspects of the
application in their written critiques in order to judge the likelihood that the
proposed research will have a substantial impact on the pursuit of these goals. 
Each of these criteria will be addressed and considered by the reviewers in
assigning the overall score weighting them as appropriate for each application. 
Note that the application does not need to be strong in all categories to be
judged likely to have a major scientific impact and thus deserve a high priority
score.  For example, an investigator may propose to carry out important work that
by its nature is not innovative but is essential to move a field forward.

1.  Significance.  Does this study address an important problem? If the aims of
the application are achieved, how will scientific knowledge be advanced?  What
will be the effect of these studies on the concepts or methods that drive this
field?  What is the immediacy of the research opportunity? To what degree does
the technology support the needs of the targeted research community?  For systems
intended for clinical research the additional criteria will be considered: to
what degree is the analysis system appropriate for clinical research and likely
to have utility for the analysis of clinical specimens or  patients?

2.  Approach.  Are the conceptual framework, design, methods, and analyses
adequately developed, well-integrated, and appropriate to the aims of the
project?  Does the applicant acknowledge potential problem areas and consider
alternative tactics? How appropriate are the proposed milestones against which
to evaluate the demonstration of feasibility for transition to the PHASE II
development phase? What is the time frame for developing the proposed
technologies and suitability of this time frame for meeting the scientific
community's needs?  How easy will it be to use the proposed technology?  Are the
plans for proposed technology dissemination adequate?

3.  Innovation.  Does the project employ novel concepts, approaches or method? 
Are the aims original and innovative? Does the project challenge existing
paradigms or develop new methodologies or technologies? What is the throughput
and cost effectiveness of the proposed technology?  What additional uses can be
projected for the proposed technology?

4.  Investigator.  Is the investigator appropriately trained and well suited to
carry out this work?  Is the work proposed appropriate to the experience level
of the principal investigator and other researchers (if any)?

5.  Environment.  Does the scientific environment in which the work will be done
contribute to the probability of success?  Do the proposed experiments take
advantage of unique features of the scientific environment or employ useful
collaborative arrangements? Is there evidence of institutional support?

The initial review group will also examine: the appropriateness of the proposed
project budget and duration; the adequacy of plans to include both genders and
minorities and their subgroups as appropriate for the scientific goals of the
research and plans for the recruitment and retention of subjects; the provisions
for the protection of human and animal subjects; and the safety of the research
environment.  In addition, for applications submitted for the December 10, 1998
and April 9, 1999 receipt dates, reviewers will be instructed to address the
adequacy of plans for including children as appropriate for the scientific goals
of the research, or justification for exclusion (see section on NIH POLICY AND
GUIDELINES ON THE INCLUSION OF CHILDREN AS PARTICIPANTS IN RESEARCH INVOLVING
HUMAN SUBJECTS).

AWARD CRITERIA

Applications will compete for available funds with all other approved SBIR and
STTR applications.  Funding decisions for Phase I will be based on quality of the
proposed project as determined by peer review, availability of funds, and program
priority.

Fast-Track Phase II applications may be funded following submission of the Phase
I progress report and other documents necessary for continuation.  Phase II
applications will be selected for funding based on the initial priority score,
NCI's assessment of the Phase I progress and determination that Phase I goals
were achieved, the project's potential for commercial success, and the
availability of funds.

INQUIRIES

Inquiries are encouraged.  The opportunity to clarify any issues or questions
from potential applicants is welcome.

Direct inquiries regarding programmatic issues to:

Carol Dahl, Ph.D.
Office of Technology and Industrial Relations
National Cancer Institute
31 Center Drive, Room 11A03, MSC 2590
Bethesda, MD 20892-2590
Telephone:  (301) 496-1550
FAX:  (301) 496-7807
Email:  carol_dahl@nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding fiscal matters to:

Ms. Kathleen Shino
National Cancer Institute
Executive Plaza South, Room 243
6120 Executive Boulevard
Bethesda, MD  20892-7150
Telephone:  (301) 496-7800, ext. 248
FAX:  (301) 496-8601
Email:  shinok@gab.nci.nih.gov

Direct inquiries regarding review matters to:

Ms. Toby Friedberg
Division of Extramural Activities
National Cancer Institute
6130 Executive Boulevard, Room 636
Bethesda, MD  20892-7150
Telephone:  (301) 496 -3428
FAX:  (301) 402-0275
Email:  tf12w@nih.gov

AUTHORITY AND REGULATIONS

This program is described in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance No.
93.394.  Awards are made under authorization of the Public Health Service Act,
Title IV, Part A (Public Law 78-410, as amended by Public Law 99-158, 42 USC 241
and 285) and administered under PHS grants policies and Federal Regulations 42
CFR 52 and 45 CFR Part 74 and part 92.  This program is not subject to the
intergovernmental review requirements of Executive Order 12372 or Health Systems
Agency review.

The PHS strongly encourages all grant and contract recipients to provide a smoke-
free workplace and promote the non-use of all tobacco products.  In addition,
Public Law 103-227, the Pro-Children Act of 1994, prohibits smoking in certain
facilities (or in some cases, any portion of a facility) in which regular or
routine education, library, day care, health care or early childhood development
services are provided to children.  This is consistent with the PHS mission to
protect and advance the physical and mental health of the American people.


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Research (OER)
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