NF Research Initiative

Pre-clinical mpnst research

Request for Applications

Deadlines: June 26th, 2017 at noon EDT (LOI); August 14th, 2017 at noon EDT (full application, if invited)
Important Dates: you will be notified by July 7th, 2017 if LOI is acceptable for submission of a full application; funds available as of December 1st, 2017 (pending contract).

Vision of the NF Research Initiative: Within the next 5 years, therapeutic development for NF1-related Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors (MPNSTs) will be transformed through international collaboration to improve the biological understanding of tumor progression in this disorder.

Funding: Maximum direct funding up to $100,000/year for a maximum of 24 months. Indirect costs are not to exceed 10% of the total direct funds requested. Budget can include a blend of project funds and salary support for the individual conducting the project. PI can request salary support limited to 5% of the NIH maximum (all to be included in the $100,000 total).

Compliant with this RFA:

  • Identification and confirmation of biological candidate targets (e.g., driver mutations) for NF1-related MPNST initiation, progression, and/or metastasis. Priority will be given to unbiased genome-wide approaches (e.g., CRISPR screens of MPNST cell lines, genome-wide analysis of MPNST in model systems).
  • Analysis of intra-tumor heterogeneity in NF1-related MPNST, including studies of molecular correlates of low-grade vs. high-grade MPNST.
  • Identification of chemical or biological agents (e.g., immunotherapeutics) that modulate a key target in the context of NF1-related MPNST.
  • Characterization of the tumor microenvironment of MPNST, including the roles of tumor-stroma interactions and/or the roles of inflammatory and other immune cells in tumor initiation and progression.
  • Preclinical screening of existing drugs or other potential treatments for MPNST, including target identification and validation (including studies of combinations capable of minimizing or eliminating resistance to therapies).
  • Studies on sporadic MPNST, or MPNST in animal models, may be proposed if they are part of an overall effort to understand NF1-related MPNST (must provide justification with proposal).

Non-Compliant with this RFA:

  • Funding for clinical trials or other clinical research (e.g., investigations of novel imaging modalities for MPNST, natural history or clinical outcomes research).
  • Funding for research on other soft-tissue sarcomas (including in NF patients).
  • Funding for other NF-related tumors being currently targeted by another funding source (e.g., plexiform neurofibroma and cutaneous neurofibroma research is targeted by NTAP).
  • Funding for tumors related to NF2


  • Applications from academic and industry settings will be considered.
  • Applicants must be addressing pre-clinical research questions intended to identify new effective therapies for NF1-related MPNSTs.

Selection Process: LOI and proposals will be screened by the NFRI leadership. Proposals in line with the stated goals will be sent for peer review to a group of 2-3 reviewers with relevant expertise. Scoring will be according to rationale, scientific plan, appropriateness of budget related to planned research, and investigator commitment and qualifications. The NFRI Scientific Advisory Committee will assess the peer reviewer recommendations and make final decisions for the awards.

To Apply:

  • Email a one page letter of intent (LOI) with: a descriptive title of the proposed research; contact information of the Principal Investigator; and a one paragraph description of the proposed research (email address below).
  • Further application instructions will be sent with the response to LOI, and you can anticipate an application length of 5 pages or less (including references and figures, but not including budget justification or biosketch)


The NF1 Research Initiative is made possible by an anonymous donation.