Types of Research We Fund
The MPN Research Foundation’s primary mission is to stimulate original MPN research in pursuit of new treatments and eventually a cure for polycythemia vera (PV), primary myelofibrosis (MF) and essential thrombocythemia (ET). In addition, the MPN Research Foundation promotes collaboration in the scientific community to accelerate MPN research, and serves as a powerful patient advocacy group for MPN patients and their families.
Our Funding Strategy
Our strategy for funding research is based on one simple premise: that patients can, if thoughtful and united, accelerate and affect the course of scientific research that can ultimately change the course of their disease, for their own benefit and that of the patient population as a whole. Click here to read about the projects we have funded.
Our funding strategy also recognizes that the amount of money we as a patient population can raise will never equal the potential investments of governmental and other large organizations. But by being very careful about how and where we direct our funding dollars, we can
- Fund scientific research of the highest quality and potential for impact on the MPNs.
- Catalyze areas of science not being stimulated by other funding sources, opening the door to new potential treatments.
- Focus on research with the highest potential to have transformative effects on patient care and treatment.
- Leverage our limited funds to get the largest possible benefit for every dollar we invest.
In order to guarantee that the grants we fund will meet the above criteria, the MPN Research Foundation depends on the expertise of a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) selected for its depth of understanding of MPNs and related diseases, and a global awareness of trends and technologies that can be brought to bear in the study of these diseases. When grant proposals are solicited, they are reviewed both on paper and in a collaborative meeting of the SAB, using grant scoring guidelines developed by NIH (the National Institutes of Health), using the criteria described above. When the number of proposals received dictates the need for additional reviewers, the SAB recommends an extended panel, which participates in both written and in-person reviews.
Basic vs. Translational Science
In our history, the MPN Research Foundation has funded both basic and translational projects. Goals for each grant cycle are determined based on an analysis of current scientific progress and the potential for new directions. As an example, in 2005, following the discovery of the JAK2V617F mutation, the Foundation elected to focus all its funding energies on rapid development of JAK2 inhibitors, which were then only beginning to emerge. We began a multi-year project called The MPD Reaserch Alliance, which was responsible for a significant amount of the early testing done on JAK2 compounds.
At the beginning of our next grantmaking cycle, the scientific landscape was quite different. In 2008, many academic labs and a growing number of biotech and pharmaceutical companies were making strides in developing JAK2 inhibitors. We therefore turned our attentions more towards basic science, in the hope of stimulating the next wave of MPN discoveries. We repeated this approach in 2010, as new mechanisms (such as microRNAs, HDAcc inhibitors, and others) and new technologies (such as full genome sequencing) continued to rapidly expand the field of knowledge related to MPNs.
Most Recent Grant Programs
In our most recent grantmaking cycles (in 2008 and 2010) the MPN Research Foundation focused on two levels of grant awards:
- MF Challenge. The Myelofibrosis (MF) Challenge is a joint grant program between the MPN Research Foundation and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The goal of The MF Challenge is to discover the factors that induce fibrosis in bone marrow, and to identify opportunities to arrest and reverse this fibrosis. Worthy recipients are given 1 year and $100,000 to provide a proof of concept for a project with the potential for further funding.
- New Investigator Awards. Two-year grants of $75,000 per year. These grants are aimed at emerging investigators who are considering a career related to research in the myeloproliferative disorders (MPNs) or established investigators in other fields who are interested in bringing their experience, skills and ideas to research in the MPNs.
- Established Investigator Awards. Two-year grants of $150,000 per year. These grants are aimed at researchers with a demonstrated interest and history of achievement in MPN research. Projects are either basic or translational research, as long as results will contribute to new understanding, new molecular targets, or new treatments for MPNs.