FRRB is pleased to announce the launch of the secondi Joint Transnational Call (JTC) with the European Programme TRANSCAN -3: "Novel translational approaches to tackle the challenges of hard-to-treat cancers from early diagnosis to therapy".
The JCS is set up at Alleanza Contro il Cancro, Italy. It will act as Joint Call Secretariat (JCS) to coordinate the application and selection process of JTC 2022. 


Proposals must be centred on one or more of the hard-to-treat-cancers (HTTC) subtypes characterized by very poor prognosis (5-year survival rate<25%) and for which survival has not improved significantly over the last decades, namely Glioblastoma, Pancreas, Pleural mesothelioma, Gallbladder, Oesophagus, Liver and bile ducts,Lung/bronchus.
Current difficulties include the inadequacy of standard diagnostic tools or established early detection methods in the general population, but also the inefficacy of available treatment options, due to intrinsic resistance and/or ineffective drug delivery. In the context of translational cancer research, this call for proposals comprises three specific aims. Proposals will have to cover at least one of the undermentioned aims or sub-aims.

Aim 1) Identification/validation of novel early diagnostic approaches. Early detection and diagnosis (ED&D) research seeks to detect and diagnose consequential precancerous changes and cancer at the earliest possible point at which an effective intervention might be made, reducing the burden of late-stage disease. Any of the areas identified below can be eligible for funding:

  • Identification and validation of novel biomarkers/signatures for HTTC, to better understand disease trajectory of very early/pre-cancerous lesions and help patient stratification in terms of risk, diagnosis/prognosis, response to treatment;
  • Non-confirmatory clinical trials of ED&D technologies or approaches, in particular data and computation-driven approaches.

Proposals may include hypothesis-driven studies on a variety of biomarkers, e.g. structural, functional, molecular, genetic biomarkers; digital biomarkers are eligible only in combination with other bio-signatures. In all cases, a clear pathophysiological correlate and studies on human participants or tissue should be included in the proposal.

Aim 2) Identification/validation of novel therapeutic approaches. Although ED&D may significantly reduce the disease burden, HTTC are often characterised by an intrinsic resistance to available treatments. Therefore, it is of foremost importance to understand the biological processes that make these cancers “hard to treat”, and consequently to elaborate more effective therapeutic strategies, also to improve the patients’ quality of life. We welcome proposals aimed at:

  • Identification and validation of novel therapeutical targets, based on better insights on resistance mechanisms, tumour heterogeneity, cellular plasticity, tumour microenvironment, immune responses, metastatic process, tumour dormancy. Novel targets should be evaluated in translational studies with regard to their impact on treatment efficacy and patient benefits. Any in-vitro model systems must closely relate to the human disease.
  • Development of novel therapeutics/therapeutic approaches, through phase I and II clinical trials investigating combinations of available treatments, e.g. targeting multiple pathways, including immune/inflammatory, neoangiogenic and proliferative pathways, new therapeutics, new administration schemes, nutritional support, and other measures to maximise patient outcome and quality of life.

Aim 3) Development of novel drug delivery strategies. The overarching challenge associated with effective treatment of any cancer is to minimize undesired effects while maximizing therapeutic benefits. For HTTC two additional issues arise: (i) traditional targeted drug delivery strategies suffer from limited capacity of the delivery vehicles preventing sufficient drugs reaching the cancer site which restricts the efficacy of treatment; and (ii) to access the tumour the drug needs to cross endogenous barriers, such as the blood brain barrier and tissue stroma. Therefore, we welcome proposals that aim at developing novel drug delivery systems for HTTC by:

  • achieving site-specific targeting; and/or
  • controlling release rate.

Interdisciplinary approaches that combine polymer science and nanotechnology, pharmaceutics, bioconjugate chemistry, and molecular biology are particularly supported

All information and documents on the Call can be found on the Call

FRRB, partner of the TRANSCAN-3, has allocated a budget of 1.500.000,00 Euro to this call.  


According to internal procedures, Regional Foundation for Biomedical Research (FRRB) will grant an eligibility clearance to the potential applicants prior to the submission of the pre-proposals.
Pre-eligibility documents can be downloaded from the official project page and on this page, in the "Download documents" section.
FRRB provides an excel sheet to help applicants abide by FRRB funding rules.  This form is meant to support the PIs in the elaboration of the budget, but it does not need to be sent to FRRB.

Definition of Research Institutes/organisation

For the purposes of this Call, the following definition applies.
Research Institute/organisation is defined as any institution that has all of the following characteristics:
a) it includes, within its
 Statute, the aims of research and the dissemination of scientific knowledge;
b) it mainly and continuously carries out independent research and dissemination of scientific knowledge;
c) it is equipped with stable structures, premises and/or laboratories and instruments suitable for carrying out research activities;
d) it employs qualified personnel suitable for the research activity;
e) it does not include, among its activities, the funding of research through competitive calls for proposals.

Description Period
Opening of the JTC 2022 23 May 2022
Pre-proposals deadline 18 July 2022
Full-proposals deadline 15December 2022
Final funding decision (April 2023)
FRRB Financial allocation FRRB 1.500.000 €

Documents to download