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Cures Acceleration Network

The Cures Acceleration Network (CAN) is a section of the Public Health Services Act that provides administrative powers, or a set of authorities. NCATS uses these authorities to advance the development of high-need cures and to address significant barriers between research discovery and clinical trials. The CAN Review Board advises NCATS on CAN activities.


CAN was created by Congress and became part of NCATS when the center was established in December 2011. Each year, Congress and the President determine how much of NCATS’ regular budget can be spent on CAN activities.

CAN provides the following authorities to NCATS. We may make grant awards of up to $15 million per fiscal year and partnership awards that require matching funds of $1 for every $3 awarded. We also can grant flexible research awards using Other Transaction Authority (OTA). OTA makes it easy for us to expand, modify and discontinue activities to meet programmatic needs. We can use up to 20% of funds available for CAN for Other Transaction awards.

For more details on CAN, see the summary from Maximizing the Goals of the Cures Acceleration Network to Accelerate the Development of New Drugs and Diagnostics: A Workshop.

NCATS CAN Initiatives

Under CAN, a variety of initiatives are supported based on available funds each fiscal year. These initiatives include Tissue Chip for Drug Screening, Biomedical Data Translator, A Specialized Platform for Innovative Research Exploration and the Platform Vector Gene Therapy pilot program.

CAN Review Board

The CAN Review Board is an advisory committee that offers recommendations to the NCATS director and discusses concepts for potential NCATS CAN initiatives. Members are appointed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and serve four-year terms. Ex officio members from NIH, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, the Office of the Under Secretary for Health for the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration also are appointed and serve three-year terms.

A CAN Review Board working group assessed how the center can speed the transition of CAN-enabled tools and technologies to real-world use. The working group’s formal recommendations are pending.

Read the CAN Review Board charter.

Find CAN Review Board meetings.

View approved CAN concepts.

Last updated on April 19, 2024