Program on Non-AIDS-defining Cancer, HIV and Aging

Project award amount: Awards of up to $75,000.


  1. Funding is available from the National Cancer Institute and the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (HDFCCC) for innovative pilot studies in the field of non-AIDS-defining cancers (NADC), HIV, and aging.
  2. Grantees will participate in the newly established Non-AIDS-defining Cancer-HIV-Aging (NACHA) Interest Group: a multidisciplinary group consisting of Cancer Center members and UCSF faculty from diverse backgrounds, including HIV and aging, to foster scientific interest and interchange in NADC, HIV, and aging research; mentor junior investigators in preparation of their pilot grants; and promote the development of new scientific programs.

People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are living to older ages—effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) has changed the lives of HIV-infected individuals by transforming HIV into a manageable chronic condition. Growing numbers of HIV-infected individuals are reaching older ages. In 2015, over half of the PLWHA in the US are estimated to be over 50 years of age. Older individuals are also being diagnosed with HIV infection at higher rates than at the beginning of the HIV epidemic, with 38% of newly diagnosed HIV infections in 2011 occurring in individuals 50 years or older.

Although ART produces dramatic increases in CD4+ levels, reductions in HIV viral load, and reductions in AIDS-defining illnesses, the incidence of several non-AIDS defining illnesses, including cancers, has not decreased with ART. These diseases may also be occurring at younger ages among HIV-infected individuals than among their HIV-uninfected counterparts. The distribution of cancers is also changing, with the proportion of PLWHA diagnosed with NADC increasing compared to those diagnosed with AIDS-defining cancers. The growing incidence of NADC underscores the need to better understand the biological mechanisms by which aging and HIV interact to increase the risk of cancer.

Pilot project(s) must meet the NIH HIV/AIDS Research Priorities listed in NOT-OD-15-137 as high priority. Projects focusing, for example, on EBV, HPV, KSHV, or other oncogenic viruses or HIV alone are not eligible for support. Examples of research topics include but are not limited to:

  • Studies of biomarkers of aging and inflammation in PLWHA and their relationship to cancer.
  • Studies of NADC specimens from PLWHA to determine molecular signatures unique to aging PLWHA.
  • In vitro studies of the effect of HIV and aging on cancer cell biology.
  • Screening and prevention strategies for NADC in aging PLWHA.
  • Biology of aging and cancer.
  • Effects of comorbidities (consequences of the aging process and/or the progression of HIV/AIDS).
  • Effects of polypharmacy including antiretroviral therapy on treatment of NADCs.
  • Treatment efficacy and tolerance.
  • Cancer control for early detection, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, prognosis and survivorship.


  1. Awards of up to $50,000 (direct costs and may include personnel salary and benefits) are encouraged, but up to $75,000 in direct costs may be requested.
  2. The number of grants awarded is determined by funding available.
  3. The funding will last for a one-year period.
  4. Progress reports will be due to the HDFCCC Programs Office at the midpoint and at the end of the project period. Reports should reference subsequent funding acquired, research goals met, posters, publications, etc.
  5. Awardees will be strongly encouraged to participate the NACHA Interest Group and the Andy I. Choi Mentoring Program of the UCSF-GIVI Center for AIDS Research.
  6. If applicable, CHR and IACUC approval and must be obtained before funding will be released to the awardee.
  7. This award does not support travel or equipment.

Eligibility: Researchers with academic appointments at all levels (excluding faculty without pay) are eligible. Post-doctoral fellows are not eligible. At least one member of the applicant group must be a Cancer Center Member or Associate Member.

Criteria for Review and Evaluation of Applications: Applications that are complete and meet eligibility requirements will be evaluated for scientific and technical merit by an appropriate review committee convened by the UCSF Resource Allocation Program in accordance with the review criteria employed by the NIH which include five core areas: 1. Significance, 2. Approach, 3. Innovation, 4. Investigator, 5. Environment. Each of these criteria will be addressed and considered in assigning the overall score weighing them as appropriate for each application.

Selection of Awardees
Funding decisions are made independently by each funding agency based on several factors – scientific review score, alignment of proposal to funder’s strategic goals, proposal research area of focus, and specifically called out eligibility or other requirements like membership in a center, affiliation with a specific school or relevance to a stated auxiliary topic.

Useful Links-

For information about the AIDS Malignancy Consortium program and NACHA interest group

Joel Palefsky M.D. (HPV-related malignancies, non-AIDS-defining malignancies):

Lawrence Kaplan, M.D. (Lymphoma):

Toby Maurer, M.D. (Kaposi’s sarcoma):

For information about the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center:

The CFAR Andy I. Choi Mentoring Program:

For information on the Cancer Center’s Cancer, Immunity and the Microenvironment Program:


STEP 1) Complete the electronic application form
STEP 2) Upload your proposal as a SINGLE PDF file that includes all the things listed in numeric order in the instructions below. Do not include form fields in your PDF document.


Please write your proposal following the instructions listed below and create one single PDF file. Do not include form fields in your PDF document.

Proposal Length: Maximum 6 pages, including figures and tables, excluding table of contents and literature cited.

Format Requirements: Arial font; 11 pt; minimum 0.5 inch for all margins; no appendices; include page numbers and table of contents.

1. P.I. Name(s) - (At least one member of the applicant group must be a Cancer Center Member or Associate Member). Only one application as PI (PI1 OR PI2) is permitted per cycle.

2. Project Title

3. Proposal (maximum 6 pages, including figures and tables, excluding literature cited)

  • Aims
  • Background and Significance
  • Preliminary studies
  • Experimental Design and Methods (include time-table)
  • Explain how this pilot project is important for your career goals (e.g., lead to major funding, etc).

4. Detailed Budget: $75,000 maximum per proposal and please round up to the nearest thousand (i.e. instead of $74,999 list $75,000).

Use the following form: PHS 398 Form Page 4, "Detailed Budget for the Initial Period": Add the network recharge rates to your budget.



Not Allowable

PI Salary



Co-Investigator(s) Salary


Administrative Support












Personal Computers












5. Budget Justification: Clearly and fully justify all costs.

6. NIH Bio-sketch of Principal Investigator(s) and Co-Investigator(s) (5 page maximum). Use form with other support pages. Include active, pending, and planned proposals. Include percent effort, total direct costs (current year) and potential overlap with the current proposal. Include bio-sketch for both PIs of a multi-PI application.

7. Letter(s) of support: Provide a letter of support from the department chair or other unit head. In addition, for junior investigators, department chairs/unit heads should comment on the independence of the applicant and availability of research space and other resources for the proposed research. Include the letter of support at the end of your PDF proposal and address it to the RAP Committee. If there are multiple (two) PIs, a letter of support is required for both PIs. If PIs are in the same department, the chair can vouch for both PIs in a single letter. VIEW SAMPLE