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Funding Support Center

DF/HCC Sponsored Funding

Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC) Sponsored Funding
A. David Mazzone Research Awards Program 
Disparities Research Award

Sponsor: Non-federal (DFCI)
Award Amount: Up to $35,000 per year for two years for direct costs only ($70,000 total).

Application deadline: 04:59:59 PM EST, Friday, June 13, 2014
Funding decisions will be made through peer review by July 15, 2014
Anticipated award date:  August 1, 2014


Submission requirements: Applications must be submitted online: Application Form Web Page
Applications submitted using other means will not be reviewed or considered for this award. Applicants should notify their grant administrator/office and follow their institutionís policies and procedures for approval to submit applications. Applications will not be accepted after 04:59:59 PM EST, Friday, June 13, 2014.

Please direct questions to: 
Juan Carlos Hincapie
Tel: (617) 632-6155

The A. David Mazzone Research Awards Program will fund a series of collaborative and innovative cancer research, career development, community outreach, and training projects to address a range of needs in prostate cancer and Lupron-treatable diseases.

Disparity Research Awards provide support for up to two years for research projects aimed at understanding and eliminating racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in prostate cancer. This RFA will address prostate cancer disparities as differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of prostate cancer and related adverse health conditions on specific population groups. Research should focus on factors that contribute to prostate cancer disparities including interactions of the social and physical environment, behavioral factors, and/or biologic/molecular pathways. Research teams will seek to understand the complexity of health disparities rather than single factor relationships. Projects should develop preliminary data necessary to prepare and submit a competitive research grant application to a major funding agency.


Award is for $35,000 per year for up to two years ($70,000 total in direct costs). The next projected award period is  August 1, 2014 to July 31, 2015. One award remains available in this category to be awarded over a two-year period.
Funding Agency: The funding agency for the program is a grant from the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Funding was derived from a pool of unclaimed funds from the settlement in 2004 of a class action suit against TAP Pharmaceuticals. The class action suit was related to marketing and sales practices for the prostate cancer drug Lupron.

The Mazzone Awards Program is a DFCI sponsored award, administered jointly through DF/HCC and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.


Applications will be accepted from two or more independent investigators, at least one of whom holds a full-time Harvard faculty appointment at the level of Instructor or higher. Applications including investigators from more than one DF/HCC member institution are encouraged, as are applications that are part of the University of Massachusetts Boston-DF/HCC U54 partnership. Applicants from institutions throughout the country are encouraged to apply as long as they have a collaborator in one of the DF/HCC institutions. Applicants may apply for multiple grants; however, individuals may only be awarded one A. David Mazzone Research Award at a time.

Employees or subcontractors of a government entity or for-profit private industry are not eligible. Exceptions include applicants holding full-time positions at a veterans' hospital or national laboratory (e.g., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) in the United States. Members of the Programís Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) are ineligible to apply.

Required items (5):

  • Application Form: To be completed online by the Principal Investigator when submitting your proposal at Application Form Web Page. Provide a 250-word abstract description of the project in laymenís terms.
  • Research Proposal: The proposal should describe the research to which this award would be applied if funded. Maximum of 3 pages of text including figures. References and budget pages are not included in this page limit. Appendix material will be accepted with the following restrictions: a two-page limit of relevant supporting text or figures, and only manuscripts that have been accepted for publication with the journal acceptance letter.
  • Biosketches: Current NIH Biosketch for each participating PI, including all funding sources.
  • Budget: Budget requests (direct costs only) and budget justifications should be submitted as NIH 398 form with major divisions of funds (personnel, equipment, supplies, other, etc.; with adequate rationale). Separate budget pages must be submitted for each individual institution requesting funds. Funds will be distributed directly from DFCI to sub-recipients. A composite budget that includes the total costs of the project should also be included when multiple institutions are involved in the project. PIs may include a level of effort (minimum 5% total) and salary support commensurate with their efforts on the project. Support and effort may be split between the collaborating PIs. Funds may be used for direct research expenses only, which may include salary and benefits of PIs, postdoctoral or clinical research fellows and/or research assistants, research/laboratory supplies, and equipment.
  • IRB approval if applicable will be required prior to funding. 
    Format: Items 2 Ė 4 (above) must be compiled and submitted as a single PDF file. Please include the PIís name, project title, and page number at the top of each page.

Submit Proposal Online: Application Form Web Page
Application Deadline: 04:59:59 PM EST, Friday, June 13, 2014.

Applications will be reviewed by members of the Programís Scientific Review Board. Grants will be awarded on the basis of the following review criteria (in order of importance):

  • Significance. The project should address an important problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field. The aims of the project should advance scientific knowledge, technical capability, and/or clinical practice and have near-term patient impact.
  • Inter-institutional Links. Proposals that foster inter-institutional research will be favored.
  • Investigators. The PIs, collaborators, and other researchers should have the necessary experience and expertise and proven track records of accomplishment. The investigators should have complementary and integrated expertise.
  • Innovation. The application should challenge and seek to shift current research or clinical practice paradigms by utilizing novel theoretical concepts, approaches or methodologies, instrumentation, or interventions.
  • Approach. The overall strategy, methodology, and analyses should be well-reasoned and appropriate to accomplish the specific aims of the project.
  • Environment. The scientific environment in which the work will be done should contribute to the probability of success.
  • Potential to gain independent funding. There should be a high likelihood that project will lead to NCI or other cancer research foundation funding.

Grantees must submit annual progress reports to DF/HCC including detailed narrative updates, accrual reports (if applicable), and expenditure reports. Progress will be measured through the review of progress reports. Generally, progress that approximately meets benchmarks, timelines, or specific aims that are set forth within corresponding proposals will be funded on a per-year basis through the completion of the grant term.

2013 disparities research Mazzone Awards Recipient

Chronic stress and racial disparities in prostate cancer
PI: Lisa Signorello, ScD (HSPH)
Collaborators: Jennifer Rider, ScD (HSPH); Sebastien Haneuse, PhD (HSPH); Unnur Valdimarsdottir, PhD (University of Iceland)

Prostate cancer incidence and mortality among black men are 60% and 140% higher, respectively, than the group with the next highest prostate cancer burden in the U.S., non-Hispanic whites. In addition to racial disparities, men of low socioeconomic status have a significantly higher burden of prostate cancer mortality. Unfortunately, we have yet to conclusively identify modifiable factors that underlie these important disparities. A common encumbrance of minority and underserved populations is their elevated exposure to chronic life stress. As we increasingly understand the biological consequences of high levels of chronic stress, we see that several of these are potentially cancer-promoting, and via pathways that could reasonably be expected to increase prostate cancer risk. Recent animal studies are also suggestive in this regard, and hint that the effects of stress on prostate cancer could be blunted by beta-blocker drugs. We thus propose a project within the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS), a unique cohort study established to investigate cancer disparities. We will leverage the existing resources of the SCCS to carry out novel prospective analyses of stress in relation to subsequent risk of prostate cancer, to explore potential interactions between stress and other factors (e.g., beta-blocker use, tumor aggressiveness), and to directly estimate the proportion of the black/white disparity that may be explained by stress. We expect our results to help elucidate a modifiable underpinning of this disparity and serve as a launching point for additional cross-disciplinary investigations aimed at improving prevention and prognosis for prostate cancer in health disparity populations.

2012 disparities research Mazzone Awards Recipients

Estimating The Prostate Cancer Burden Attributed To Lifestyle And Genetic Factors Among African-American And White Men

PI: Lorelei Mucci (Harvard School of Public Health)
Collaborators: Edward Giovannucci (Harvard School of Public Health), Massimo Loda (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), Lisa Signorello (Vanderbilt University)

African-American men have the highest rates of prostate cancer in the world, 60 times greater than men in low risk countries (Japan and China). In the US, African-American men are 1.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with and 2.4 times more likely to die from prostate cancer than Caucasian men. Even with equal access to equal care, African-American men still experience a greater burden of prostate death and suffering due to epidemiological and genetic differences we do not yet fully understand. For this proposal, we focus on lifestyle and genetic factors that may explain part of the undue burden of prostate cancer in African-American men. In Aim 1, we select 10 factors based on their known or suspected role in the development or progression of prostate cancer, as well as that their prevalence differs across populations. Using data from two prospective cohorts, we will estimate the proportion of prostate cancer attributable to these 10 factors and calculate the proportion of disease and mortality that might be preventable among both African-American and Caucasian men. In Aim 2, we leverage a unique tumor biorepository within the cohorts and perform gene-expression profiling on the tumors of 20 African-American and 200 Caucasian men with prostate cancer. We undertake gene-set and pathway based and compare and contrast mRNA profiles among African-American and Caucasian men. Prevention holds the greatest promise to reduce suffering from prostate cancer. This proposal has the potential to identify the underpinnings of disparities and illuminate novel opportunities for prevention.

Factors Influencing Willingness To Participate In Biobanking Among Black Men With And At-Risk For Prostate Cancer 
PI: Karen Emmons (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)
Collaborators: Laura Hayman (University of Massachusetts Boston), J Jacques Carter (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Aymen Elfiky (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), Christopher Lathan (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)

Biorepositories are a key resource for translational research. However, the benefits of research conducted with biobanked materials is likely to accrue largely to populations who are well-represented in biobanks. Given the significant and long-standing disparities, the lack of representation of Blacks in most biorepositories is of great concern. There has been little exploration of the factors associated with biobanking participation among Blacks. Further, if efforts to increase awareness and understanding about biobanking are focused in academic health centers, we will miss a large proportion of the Black community. The goal of the proposed study is to develop and evaluate an educational approach to increase knowledge about and willingness to consider participation in biorepositories among Blacks. NCI has developed the Minority Biospecimen/Biobanking - Geographic Management Program (BMaP), which is testing the feasibility of developing minority biobanks. The proposed work will be coordinated with BMaP and will ensure that as minority biobanks are developed, the concerns of Black men with and at-risk for prostate cancer can be considered. This study has elements of both disparities research and outreach, but is submitted for the disparities research mechanism because it represents basic population science research that will increase our understanding of menís knowledge of biobanking, and will evaluate an intervention to improve knowledge and intention outcomes. Outreach and education is conducted as part of this project, but is not the primary focus of the research.

2011 disparities research Mazzone Awards Recipients

Enhancing Usability of the Personal Patient Profile-Prostate (P3P) for Black and Hispanic Men 
PI: Donna Berry, PhD, RN (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)
Collaborators: Julia Hayes, MD (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) Martin Sanda, MD (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) Seth Wolpin, PhD, MPH, RN (University of Washington)

Selecting treatment is a daunting task for men with newly diagnosed localized prostate cancer (LPC). No single treatment option is clearly superior in terms of efficacy and morbidity. There is a growing body of evidence that men with a recent diagnosis of LPC engage in the treatment decision making process by strongly considering their personal factors along with medical factors. The research team has developed and tested the Personal Patient Profile-Prostate (P3P), the first automated, tailored and efficacious intervention to support men with LPC. The team has evidence that P3P significantly decreases decisional conflict over 6 months after diagnosis; yet found higher decisional conflict in minority men. While the randomized trial included a diverse sample, the earlier pilot work was conducted in a predominantly White sample. Intensive usability evaluations in minority men, conducted parallel to the trial, suggested additional development needs for both the English and Spanish versions of P3P. Therefore, the teamís aim is to improve the a) linguistic and contextual appropriateness of P3P content; and b) technical usability for Black and Hispanic men. We will refine the P3P user interface to enhance usability and acceptability while being careful to not change the nature of the intervention. To address these issues, the team will employ an established iterative development process with a sample of 20 Black and 20 Hispanic men with a recent diagnosis of LPC. The goal is to measure: a) program content reading level; b) health literacy; c) navigation of the program; d) usability and e) acceptability.

Understanding Racial Differences in Prostate Cancer Mortality
PI: Nancy Keating, MD, MPH (Harvard Medical School)
Collaborators: Glen Taksler, PhD (New York University) David Cutler PhD (Harvard University School of Economics)

This study seeks to explain the black-white racial gap in prostate cancer mortality and identify clinical and social opportunities to reduce those disparities. Racial gaps in prostate cancer mortality are among the largest in any disease, yet remain incompletely explained. In year 1, the study will decompose the racial gap in prostate cancer mortality into differential incidence and stage-specific survival using SEER-Medicare data for prostate cancer patients and controls. The study can then attribute the racial gap in stage-specific incidence to disparities in PSA testing, comorbidities, and income. Then, the study will analyze how tumor characteristics, differential receipt of tests and treatments, access to different physicians, and socioeconomic differences impact the racial gap in survival. In year 2, the study will consider how differential vitamin intake may affect racial differences in prostate cancer incidence. 
Individuals with darker skin pigmentation absorb less Vitamin D, and Vitamin D may lessen cancer risk. The possible link between sun exposure and racial differences in prostate cancer mortality has not been investigated. The study will assess whether the racial disparity in prostate cancer mortality is greater in U.S. regions with greater sunshine, where white males may benefit disproportionately from Vitamin D absorption. Such findings would suggest closer monitoring of Vitamin D levels in black men. The studyís quantitative approach to decomposing the racial gap is novel and it applies advanced econometric techniques to address potential confounding, a challenge of observational studies.