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HCL2025 guidelines

Expanding Research in Hairy Cell Leukemia to Better Characterize Its Biology, Develop New Therapies, and Optimize Outcomes for Patients.

HCLF partnership

The Hairy Cell Leukemia Foundation (HCLF) and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) have joined forces to invest up to $10,000,000 over 5 years in targeted research to build a more comprehensive foundational understanding of the molecular basis of hairy cell leukemia, develop additional therapies, and optimize outcomes for patients with hairy cell leukemia (HCL).

Call For Proposals:

HCL2025 Initiative


 Research Focus Areas

While investigators are encouraged to submit proposals on any clinical or biological topics related to hairy cell leukemia, certain research areas will be prioritized.

On the clinical side, these include:

  1. Studies of innovative treatments for situations of high unmet medical need that require accurate diagnosis and characterization of the HCL-like disease spectrum, including classical HCL (cHCL) and variant HCL (HCLv).
  2. Novel strategies to treat infections associated with HCL.
  3. Risk stratification and development of targeted treatments.


We also seek a deeper understanding of the disease and will support studies focused on:

  1. Uncovering novel features of HCL biology and cellular vulnerabilities.
  2. Investigations into mechanisms of HCL relapse and therapy resistance.
  3. Efforts to establish and validate in vitro and in vivo models of the disease.

Such fundamental studies should be focused toward translational potential and driven ultimately by the goals of improved patient outcomes and reduction or elimination of disease.


Grant Funding Mechanisms

HCLF and LLS are activating a global call for inventive proposals that have the potential for high impact in the field of HCL. Funding will be allocated as stated below. Additional funding for projects that are successful may be granted in later years of the grant term. The grant programs are as follows:


Synergistic Team Award (STA): one will be awarded. This $2.5 million multi-investigator grant will focus on novel clinical trial(s) in HCLv or cHCL. The group may be from multiple institutions. The group must have the knowledge and capacity to perform biomarker/PD assessment and/or basic HCL biology research.

  • program activities can include pre-clinical development and correlative studies
  • multiple projects that do not contribute to the overall synergy will be unfavorably reviewed
  • approximately 3 to 4 investigators led by a Program Director
  • funding for Core facilities (e.g. clinical trial services, genomics, animal models, registries, or computation) may be included
  • 4 years of support: $625,000/year ($2,500,000 total)
  • annual site visits with assessments will be required

Translational Grants (TRLs): these grants will be awarded to support clinical and/or biological research. A clearly outlined translational aspect is a plus for proposals in basic research, but outstanding biological research proposals without a translational element are also encouraged. The award is expected to support senior investigators, although young independent investigators with a proven track will be considered.

  • Project led by a single Principal Investigator (PI)
  • Project may have a single Co-PI
  • 3 years of support, with the third-year funding dependent on progress assessment at end of year 2
  • $250,000/year ($750,000 total)


Exploratory Awards (EXP): these awards will be awarded to support basic studies and/or therapeutic development. The award program is designed for investigators who are currently working outside of the HCL field but can add significant value toward understanding this disease.

  • project led by a single Principle Investigator (PI)
  • bringing novel expertise to HCL research is encouraged
  • investigating previously unexplored aspects of HCL
  • project may have a single Co-PI (particularly encouraged if the PI does not have experience with HCL)
  • 2 years of support: $125,000/year ($250,000 total)


Application Process


The application process will occur in two phases. The first phase is submission and consideration of a Letter of Intent (LOI). The LOI will be evaluated for eligibility, and all eligible applicants will be invited to submit a Full Application. The Applicant and Sponsoring Institution must register independently with the LLS Research Portal in order for the Applicant to apply.  Both LOI and Full Application submissions must be made electronically through the LLS Research Portal.

Full Applications will be reviewed by a committee composed of experts in HCL, blood cancer biology, and cancer therapeutics.  Applications will be evaluated based on significance, scientific rationale, innovation, feasibility, experience and track-record of the investigators, and potential impact and benefit to HCL patients.  The HCLF/LLS Joint Leadership Group, composed of HCLF leadership and LLS scientific staff, will make final funding decisions based on the committee evaluation, program priorities, and the availability of funds.

Detailed instructions for preparation of the LOI and Full Application are found in the HCL2025 Guidelines and Instructions document available for download below:


Key Dates


Call For Proposals November 2, 2020
Letter of Intent Due January 29, 2021 at 3PM ET
Notification of Full Application Invite February 5, 2021
Full Application Deadline April 16, 2021 at 3PM ET
Review Panel Meeting June 2021
Notification of Awards August 1, 2021
Grant Term Begins October 1, 2021