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EDS: Our Research Programs

Our research goal is simple — find answers that help save lives from cancer. Our strategy
for funding research is just as straightforward — fund the most innovative cancer research.
In fact, we’ve helped make possible many of the major cancer research breakthroughs
since 1946.

New Grant Requirements

All applications must fit into at least 1 of 6 research priority areas.


We Fund All Types of Research 

The American Cancer Society (ACS) funds a wide range of investigator-initiated cancer research. We believe that the best science will provide the greatest benefit. That’s why the goal of our Extramural Discovery Sciences program is to fund the most creative, innovative, and promising projects from the grant applications we receive, for any type of cancer and within any part of the research continuum.

Grant applicants may propose projects focused on any of these areas:

  • Basic discovery science, where the goal is to uncover fundamental mechanisms of biology, cancer, or behavior
  • Development of novel therapeutics
  • Translational cancer research, where the goal is to further demonstrate how a discovery can be moved into the clinic

Proposals can focus on:

  • The use of diverse preclinical cancer models. This includes in silico/computational, cells, organoids and/or animals). 
  • Clinical research with people to better understand a disease and to test and refine new treatments and technologies. This includes clinical trials, epidemiologic and behavioral studies, and health services research.

Our portfolio reflects this diverse scope. Each of our Scientific Research Programs accepts applications from most grant mechanisms (exceptions are made for some special initiatives). 

Glossary for Nonscientists

Featured Term:
Preclinical Studies 

Research that takes place before any testing in humans is done—before clinical trials. Preclinical studies may explore how useful a drug, procedure, or treatment is likely to be. 

In the commonly used description about the research continuum, “bench to bedside,” preclinical studies are the bench—meaning they occur in a lab setting. Preclinical studies may be conducted in a test tube, cell culture (in vitro), or in animals, such as mice (in vivo).

NEW Programs, Grant Mechanisms, and RFAs

In addition to our traditional extramural research grants program, our portfolio includes newly launched grant mechanisms: 

And, we have a new request for research applications!