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Targeted Funding for Cancer Technologies for Low-Resource Settings

Cancer Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment Technologies for Low-Resource Settings

SBIR: PA-18-801

STTR: PA-18-802

Receipt dates: September 8, 2020; January 5, 2021; April 6, 2021

Expires on January 6, 2021



This Funding Opportunity Announcement encourages small businesses to propose commercially-directed research for the development of cancer prevention, diagnosis, or treatment technologies to improve cancer outcomes in low- and middle-income countries, and low-resource settings in the US. Under this opportunity, small businesses are expected to develop or adapt, apply, and validate existing or emerging technologies into user-friendly, low-resource setting-appropriate technologies for cancer prevention, diagnosis, or treatment.

Technologies should be practical and affordable in the low-resource settings, including remote or underserved populations within or outside the US. The technologies may include, but are not limited to tools for vaccine dissemination/delivery, imaging, in vitro diagnosis, or treatment of pre-cancerous (pre-neoplastic) or cancerous lesions that are preventable or treatable within low-resource settings. Strong emphasis is placed on technologies that directly provide or immediately lead to treatment options available in the local health system.


Projects proposed for this opportunity will require multidisciplinary efforts to succeed, and, therefore, all applicant teams must include expertise in oncology, engineering, global health, and healthcare delivery in low-resource settings. Applicants are encouraged to collaborate with academic institutions, local hospitals, community groups, non-governmental organizations, or charities for conduct of the proposed cancer global health product development activities.


Technology areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Machine learning algorithms to identify precancer and cancer in optical images captured with simple medical devices (e.g., smart phone);
  • Machine learning approaches to enhance POC imaging, telemedicine, or digital pathology;
  • Software tools for cancer prevention, such as tools for vaccine dissemination, or tools to improve vaccine supply chains;
  • Delivery technologies to improve reliability, effectiveness, and/or safety of vaccines at the point of use (e.g., needle-free delivery methods, intradermal delivery that could reduce the quantity of vaccine required for an effective dose, or oral delivery);
  • In vitro diagnostic assays such as Point-of-Care analytical tools for blood, saliva, or urine (e.g. lab-on-a-chip biosensors that allow remote performance of chemical and/or biological assays outside of a laboratory environment);
  • Portable imaging devices for cancer diagnosis based for examples on optical imaging, spectroscopy, or ultrasound;
  • Devices for cancer treatment such as tools that may facilitate standard minimally invasive cancer treatment modalities, tools for cryotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, laser therapy, low-power-density sonication, high-intensity focused ultrasound or photodynamic therapy in a remote setting;
  • Devices to aid in delivery of cancer drugs;
  • Devices for treatment monitoring;
  • Tools for information and communications technologies to enhance cancer data collection, sharing, or analysis.


Technologies that are generally not appropriate for this FOA include the following:

  • Devices that involve highly invasive interventions;
  • Devices that require extensive user training before they can be used;
  • Tools or devices that are exclusively focused on telemedicine;
  • Drug screening;
  • Companion diagnostics for high-cost drugs that are not affordable in low-resource settings.


For more information about this funding opportunity, please contact NCI SBIR Program Director Ming Zhao (


Posted Date: 
March 21, 2019
Updated Date: 
June 18, 2019