Technology Development Theme Areas
The IMAT Program is aimed at stimulating and accelerating the development, integration, maturation, and dissemination of the most novel and highly innovative technologies in support of cancer research, detection, and diagnosis. Since 1998, the IMAT Program has accelerated the development of various tools, platforms, and associated methods that have direct relevance to cancer research and, ultimately, to clinical oncological practice.
The IMAT Program consists of the following three related themes that together comprise the IMAT technology development pipeline and under which specific technologies are solicited:
- Innovative Technology Development for Cancer Research, which emphasizes research projects that are centered on the inception and preliminary development of very early stage, highly innovative but also high impact technologies for cancer research;
- Application and Use of Transformative Emerging Technologies in Cancer Research, which is designed to support research projects that are centered on emerging, highly transformative technologies ready for initial application or use in a clinical or laboratory setting or in a relevant field of cancer research and in which a specific biological context or setting is used as a means of illustrating the technology’s transformative potential; and
- Innovative and Applied Emerging Technologies in Biospecimen Science, which is centered on the development and application of novel and potentially transformative technologies to assess, evaluate, and interrogate the variability of biospecimens or analytes thereof with the intent of maximizing their quality and utility in cancer research with minimal or no detrimental effects to patient or donor health.
The complete matrix of multiple IMAT FOAs, including their scopes and basic requirements, is outlined in NOT-CA-12-006. Potential applicants interested in IMAT initiatives are strongly advised to use this NIH Guide Notice as a “switchboard” to verify which of the closely related active FOAs might be most appropriate for them to apply to.
Regardless of the theme area to which an applicant may apply, the following are general attributes applicable to all IMAT technologies:
- The proposed technology application may be targeted for the needs of basic, translational, and/or clinical cancer research. All proposed applications, however, must offer the potential for substantial improvements over conventional approaches and/or add qualitatively new research capabilities not provided by current technologies (see Section IV.6, “Other Submission Requirements and Information”)
- “Technologies” proposed for development may include hardware, tools, instrumentation, devices, and associated techniques and/or methods. Note, however, that several specific technology types and application categories are not eligible (see the “exclusion list” at the end of this section of the FOA).
- Applications may be intended for molecular and cellular analyses in one or more various models, including: (a) subcellular systems; (b) cultured cells; (c) animal models (human cancers in situ); and/or (d) human biospecimens. Note, however, specific exceptions that are not eligible (see “exclusion list” at the end of this section of the FOA)
- Generally desirable attributes of all proposed applications include: (a) multiplexing (multiple parallel sample processing and/or multiparametric parallel analyses); (b) improved high throughput capability; (c) cost reduction; and/or (d) improved sensitivity, specificity, and/or selectivity.