CROSSING THE BRIDGE: A NEW Call from NIH for Turkey-US Research Collaboration on Affordable Medical Technologies

Nilay Papila

The National Institute of Health (NIH) just released a new Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) PAR-15-276 Turkey-US Collaborative Program for Affordable Medical Technologies (R01). This FOA invites applications from research partnerships formed between scientists from U.S. and Turkey to accelerate the development of appropriate affordable diagnostic and therapeutic technologies, which address medical needs in low-middle resource settings. Appropriate medical technologies are those that are useable, cost effective, sustainable, and effective in meeting a significant clinical need in a lower-middle resource setting in different world regions.

The collaborations should be aimed at developing medical technologies that can significantly impact underserved populations within the United States and/or Turkey and potentially populations in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs), particularly in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. 

This FOA encourages efforts towards developing or reengineering existing medical technologies to make them affordable and efficient so that they will have a significant impact on cancer. The program places special emphasis on the need for medical technologies that will have translational potential. Funding may be requested to enhance, adopt, validate, and translate so that the technologies can accomplish cancer risk assessment, screening, detection, diagnosis, treatment or monitor treatment related outcomes. The proposed technology/device should be cost effective and widely applicable in LMICs, and offer capabilities comparable to those available in clinical settings of higher income countries.

The collaboration must involve at least one U.S. investigator from an eligible U.S. institution and at least one Turkish collaborator affiliated with an eligible Turkish institution. An eligible Turkish institution is either a non-profit or a recognized academic institution as determined by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK). The applications must involve integrated research projects that are enriched by the inclusion of scientific expertise of both U.S. and Turkish institutions. 

Possible technologies designed to address a targeted cancer problem as defined in this FOA include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Quantitative tools for monitoring therapy, treatment response, screening for post-therapeutic relapse and pre-clinical models for research;
  • Low-cost technologies that help collect robust patient-reported outcomes information to support clinical research efforts;
  • Technologies that can be used in conjunction with imaging to improve sensitivity and specificity of early detection, diagnosis, prognosis or treatment of cancer;
  • Technologies for risk and survival assessment;
  • Low-cost technologies for the collection and stabilization/preservation of patient biospecimens for transport for subsequent diagnostic analysis;
  • Low-cost technologies that improve quality, accuracy, reproducibility and reliability of immuno-histochemical diagnosis;
  • Low cost technologies for assessment of minimal residual disease;
  • Low cost technologies for non-invasive or minimally invasive diagnosis;
  • Point-of-care tests and reagents for cancer detection and diagnosis;
  • Networked and mobile technologies for diagnostic devices—mHealth;
  • Appropriate, low-cost diagnostic imaging devices for low-resource settings;
  • Non-invasive or minimally-invasive screening, detection and diagnostics technologies (e.g. low-cost imaging, biosensors, microfluidics, and microchip technologies);
  • Development of low-cost diagnostic assay kits;
  • Low-cost multiplex diagnostic technology platforms;
  • Low-cost technologies for drug delivery;
  • Developing and testing integrated, portable imaging technologies for monitoring health and as part of point-of-care diagnosis and treatment;
  • Developing and testing tools to enhance the visualization and psychophysical understanding of complicated health information on mobile devices with the local cultural context;
  • Developing and testing decision support systems to provide guidance and a framework for shared decision-making with medical professionals based on best available evidence;
  • Developing and testing networked, citizen-driven approaches to engaging and retaining people in improving their health;
  • Developing technology that incorporates telemetry and remote access in the acquisition, analysis and monitoring of biomedical data;
  • Developing software and hardware tools for tele-health studies that have broad applications;
  • Early stage development of tele-health technologies in specific focus areas;
  • Software and hardware tools for tele-health studies that have broad applications.
Award Budget

Budgets are limited to $100,000 in direct costs in any single year.

Award Project Period

The maximum project period is 2 years.

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