Request for Proposals

Pilot Research Awards for Novel Strategies of PET and SPECT Imaging of Cancer

Opening Date: March 1, annually for three years (2015, 2016, and 2017)
Submission Deadline: April 1, annually
Peer Review Dates: The third week of April, annually
Project Start Date: May 1, annually or per request

Background and Purpose

In recognition of the need for the local production of positron emitting radioisotopes to enhance preclinical and translational research in oncology, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) awarded UT Southwestern funds to set up a Biomedical Cyclotron Facility. The Cyclotron and Radiochemistry Program (CRP) is poised to become fully operational in March 2015 with focus on the development of four classes of radiotracers to enable Position Emission Tomography (PET) and Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT):

  • Small molecules labeled with 15O, 13N, or 11C (t1/2 = 2 min, 10 min, and 20 min, respectively) that are chemically indistinguishable from their non-radioactive counterparts;
  • Small organic molecules or midsized biological molecules labeled with 68Ga or 18F (t1/2 = 68 min and 110 min, respectively);
  • Immunoconjugates or nanoconstructs labeled with 64Cu or 89Zr (t1/2 = 12.7 h and 3.27 d, respectively); and
  • Imaging probes labeled with 99mTc, 123/125/131I, 111In, 67Ga, or other gamma emitters of interest.

Each of these classes poses different challenges in the radiochemical synthesis and in the corresponding imaging scans and data analysis. PET and SPECT imaging with these radiotracers offers the opportunities to explore a wide range of questions in cancer biology and therapies.

Applications are invited to develop novel imaging strategies that integrate advanced imaging technologies into cancer biology, prevention, and therapeutic monitoring. The ultimate goal of the projects is expected to have impact on management and outcomes in cancer patient care. Three pilot projects will be funded through this mechanism each year for three years.

Application Components

  • Specific Aims (1 page)
  • Research Strategies (4 pages)
  • Budget and Justification (1 page)
  • Departmental/Collaborator Support Letter(s) (strongly encouraged)
  • NIH Biosketches of key personnel including other support
  • Vertebrate Animals assurances, if applicable

Budget and Project Period

Three projects chosen by a review panel will be supported for one year with the funding levels of $10,000, $15,000, and $25,000, respectively. The funds should be primarily used to cover the radiotracer and imaging costs of the pilot projects. Expenses not allowed include: personnel, travels, and instruments. No renewal applications will be allowed.

Eligible Applicants

Members of the Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center are eligible. New and early stage investigators are encouraged to apply. 

Questions about this RFA should be directed to Applications should be sent to