Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center

Cancer Research New Funding Opportunities


Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center 2023 Pilot Project Grants


The Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center is seeking to fund two (2) one-year pilot projects up to $50,000 each - to be awarded no later than January 2023.

This year the focus for pilot projects is Transdisciplinary Research in Cancer Health Disparities. 

To be given the highest priority, projects should:

  • Focus on DLDCCC catchment area cancers
  • Involve multidisciplinary teams of at least one population scientist and one basic or clinical/translational scientist
  • Aim to:
    • Investigate the interplay of race/ethnicity and/or other social determinant factors with cancer biology to mechanistically explain unequal cancer burden among medically underserved populations

    • Seek to advance equity in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of DLDCCC catchment area cancers

**Applications shall be submitted by 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept.19, 2022**

All cancer center members who have a faculty appointment are eligible to apply.   

Indirect costs are not allowed, and applications do not need to be submitted via BRAIN.

Please read the full funding opportunity description (next page below) carefully before formulating your application, as well as the attached Application Format and Instructions.

To apply, upload all the application requirements as a single PDF file to: DLDCCC Proposal Submission Form.

If you have any questions, please contact DLDCCCgrants@bcm.edu.

Full Funding Opportunity Description

Transdisciplinary Research in Cancer Health Disparities


The purpose of this funding opportunity is to accelerate and strengthen multidisciplinary cancer disparities research in wide ranging areas across the DLDCCC. Cancer disparities research includes, but is not limited to basic, translational, behavioral, observational, interventional, environmental and population research studies that address the adverse differences in cancer incidence, prevalence, mortality, survivorship, burden and/or response to treatment in racial/ethnic minorities and/or medically underserved populations. Proposed collaborations should focus on achieving research objectives that by necessity rely on diverse and complementary expertise, technical capabilities, and resource sets.


The DLDCCC’s catchment area is the Houston metropolitan statistical area (MSA), a diverse geographic region of more than 7 million individuals that comprises Harris County and eight surrounding counties.

Although significant advancements in cancer research have led to improved diagnosis, prognosis and outcomes for cancer patients, several racial/ethnic populations in the Houston MSA demonstrate alarming statistics of increased incidence, more aggressive disease, and/or increased mortality for several cancers including triple negative breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, liver cancer, cervical cancer, HIV-related malignancies, and pediatric cancers.

More information about catchment area cancers is available.

The causes of these cancer disparities are multifactorial, including differences in access to health care, lack of cultural competency, environmental disadvantage, differences in diet and lifestyle, ancestry-related biological/genetic factors, persistent comorbidities, and chronic stress exposure due to racism, discrimination, and social isolation. As an important next step, research is needed to mechanistically explain these causal pathways. Also of importance is research that moves beyond an exclusive focus on the health status of individuals to examine and address how patient, provider, and/or larger systemic factors cause, sustain, or minimize health disparities in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of catchment area cancers.

Funding Opportunity Requirements and Examples of Appropriate Research Topics

Applications should address a cancer disparity research question and be implemented through a collaboration between a population science researcher and a basic science or clinical/translational researcher. Study teams should have non-overlapping yet complementary expertise. Cancer disparity research questions to be addressed are expected to include studies focused on DLDCCC catchment area priorities, as described in the Background section above.

Research areas that are appropriate to the goals of this funding announcement include but are not limited to:

Basic Cancer Biology

  • Investigate the mechanistic underpinnings of underlying genetic or epigenetic variations that may contribute to disparities in risk/outcome of cancer among minority and/or underserved populations
  • Study underlying molecular mechanisms that may contribute to disparities in therapeutic responses and adverse events among minority and/or underserved populations
  • Examine population-specific mechanistic basis of alternative/compensatory signaling
  • Interrogate differential metabolic/organelle functions existing within minority/underserved population groups
  • Investigate how social determinant factors may cause adverse gene expression that confers increased cancer risk and/or aggressiveness
  • Understand biological mechanisms of how stress impacts the progression of symptoms in racial/ethnic minority groups
  • Interrogate if risk factors, including environmental exposures, differ across race/ethnicity to influence cancer development or outcomes

Cancer Prevention

  • Develop and pilot test interventions and approaches for expanding prevention opportunities to block, reverse, or delay the early stages of cancers with a higher burden in racial/ethnic minority and/or underserved populations
  • Conduct studies of operating characteristics and clinical impact (harms as well as benefits) of cancer early detection technologies and practices (imaging and molecular biomarkers) for cancers affecting racial/ethnic minorities and/or underserved populations
  • Develop interventions that increase rates of cancer screening, follow-up, referral-to-care, or that improve lifestyle behaviors, psychosocial adjustment, or symptom management among medically underserved and/or racial/ethnic minority population subgroups

Population Science

  • Investigate social, behavioral, genetic/biological, and environmental factors contributing to cancer disparities in racial/ethnic minority health and/or underserved populations
  • Collect and analyze data and biospecimens to investigate contributors of cancer disparities in racial/ethnic minority health and/or underserved populations
  • Assess cancer risk to inform improved decision-making, risk reduction interventions, and screening options for early detection
  • Develop and/or pilot test strategies for increasing participation of racial/ethnic minority and/or underserved populations in cancer prevention, interventional, and/or observational trials

Translational and Clinical Studies

  • Examine patient outcomes, cancer treatment delivery, and healthcare utilization among racial/ethnic minority health and/or underserved populations
  • Investigate underlying genetic or epigenetic variations that may contribute to disparities in therapeutic responses among racial/ethnic minority and/or underserved populations
  • Explore the development of new experimental and translational/pre-clinical models and/or tools that can advance cancer disparities research
  • Examine the effects of care delivery models and strategies on outcomes such as care access, quality, utilization, costs, care-related financial distress, and related inequities

Teams are encouraged to think about future grant applications when formulating their proposals. Possible mechanisms include:

Application Form

Summary Sheet


Helis Medical Research Foundation


Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas


The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas offers several funding opportunities for promising cancer research, product development, and prevention programs. 


NIH Grant Funding Opportunities


The NIH National Cancer Institute grants and training page offers information on: Funding Opportunities by Type, NCI Special Initiatives, NCI Funding Opportunities by Research Topic


American Cancer Society Research Grants


The American Cancer Society awards research grants and fellowships to promising early-career scientists with unique hypotheses for cancer prevention and study, fostering the next generation of cancer research and creating a strong foundation of preliminary evidence to make scientific advancements. We also sponsor grants in support of training for health professionals seeking to develop their clinical expertise and/or their ability to conduct independent research.




View our directory of current members or apply to become a Cancer Center member.

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