Stratified medicine is a priority area for the Medical Research Council (MRC), which will commit £60m to this area over the next four years. MRC has now invited researchers to submit outline proposals for funding for the development of disease-focussed consortia to stratify disease. Extracts from the call:
Patient response to drug treatments and therapeutic interventions varies markedly across the population as a result of differing underlying mechanisms of disease and patient responses to both disease and treatment. Stratified medicine can be described as identifying the different strata within a disease and the deeper understanding of the mechanisms underpinning these strata. Stratification will allow targeting of treatments to specific disease pathways, identification of treatments effective for particular groups of patients, and co-development of diagnostics to ensure the right patient gets the right treatment at the right time.
Aim of the Call
This call sets out to develop UK-wide research consortia that are each focussed on a specific disease area, in order to stratify that disease and develop a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the stratification. Initially, priority will be given to proposals that focus on diseases where an existing therapy exists as a tool for stratification. The consortia must build upon existing scientific and clinical expertise; clinical research infrastructure such as that provided by National Institute of Health Research, Scottish Government Health Directorates, The National Institute for Social Care and Health Research, Welsh Government and Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Northern Ireland; and have significant links with industrial partners. Each consortium should provide a dynamic platform for research that will create future opportunities for further funding and collaboration.
MRC has allocated up to £60m over 4 years to fund consortia up to 5 years duration. It is likely that this will be split as £15m commitment per year for four years, although this is dependent on the quality of proposals received each year.
The MRC has not pre-specified priority disease areas. Instead, applicants are invited to submit outline applications that clearly describe and justify why a particular disease area is ripe for stratified approach. Given the extensive work being carried out by Cancer Research UK in the stratified medicine of cancer, this initiative is only open to non-malignant diseases.
Collaborative research proposals between academics and industry partners are strongly encouraged, all applicants are advised to refer to the guidance on MRC Industrial Collaboration Agreements (MICA) and must submit a MICA form with their application.
There will be further rounds of funding through this initiative and this will allow other disease areas to be developed for future rounds. Funding can be allocated in this first round to support development of consortia for future rounds.
This call follows standard RCUK eligibility criteria. The closing date for outline applications is 24th January 2012.
Further information is available on the MRC website here.