SPARC - Metastatic Breast Cancer Challenge

SPARC will expand in 2019-2020 and reach a total of 50 cancer organisations awarded worldwide

As part of the Seeding Progress and Resources for the Cancer Community: metastatic Breast Cancer Challenge (SPARC MBC Challenge) launched in 2015 by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and Pfizer, 40 cancer organisations in 30 countries have already received SPARC grants to start new projects addressing the needs of metastatic breast cancer patients.


With 10 additional organisations joining the initiative in 2019, 50 cancer organisations will receive a total funding of US$1,250,000. In addition to seed- grants, the SPARC awardees benefit from trainings, best-practice sharing workshops and mentoring. They will also have the opportunity to participate in key global convening cancer events to network and showcase their work. The application process will open at the end of February.

Read the official press release about the launch of the third round of SPARC

The next SPARC call for proposals has closed on 15 April 2019.

Read the SPARC Application guidelines  and apply through the button below:

About SPARC MBC Challenge

Pfizer Oncology

Pfizer and UICC are working in partnership to offer the Seeding Progress and Resources for the Cancer Community (SPARC) Metastatic Breast Cancer Challenge, a first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at empowering advocacy groups, hospital networks, support groups and other organisations worldwide as they initiate projects supporting metastatic breast cancer patients and helping to reduce the number of women diagnosed at an advanced stage of breast cancer. 

More than 1.6 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and this is increasing particularly in low- and middle-income countries where the majority of cases are diagnosed at late stages. 

Launched in 2015, the SPARC MBC Challenge addresses the needs of a growing number of MBC patients across the world. 40 not-for-profit organisations worldwide have already benefitted from SPARC grants, which consist of seed-funding, capacity building and convening opportunities to launch and strengthen new projects addressing the needs of MBC patients. Awardees are integrated into the SPARC network of alumni where they can share best practices, learn from others and share resources.

The primary objective of the SPARC programme is to empower and support patients living with advanced breast cancer to lead lives of a higher quality, and to  reduce the incidence of de novo advanced disease. An additional objective of the programme is to enable SPARC grantee organisations to increase their capacity, knowledge and visibility through training opportunities, mentorship and peer-to-peer learning with other SPARC grantees.

SPARC Focus areas

SPARC grants support projects in three focus areas:

  • Information and support gap: Projects supported in this category aim at improving the patient’s ability to navigate diagnosis, treatment and care services. SPARC strengthens the level of social, economic, psychological and spiritual support for patients and their care givers. It also strengthens the healthcare professional capacity in taking care of the specific needs of MBC patients.
  • Raising patient voices and awareness: SPARC MBC Challenge supports projects that reduce stigma and increase public awareness around MBC. Through increased awareness, SPARC encourages earlier presentation and access to timely treatment to decrease the incidence of locally advanced and metastatic disease at first diagnosis.
  • Policy and health system gaps: SPARC projects providing policy-makers with guidance on the unique challenges of metastatic disease are our third priority area. Advocacy initiatives in the MBC space are encouraged and as well as the inclusion of the patient’s perspective into National Cancer Control Plan.

Discover the SPARC 2017 and 2015 grantees 

Why Advanced Breast Cancer?

In 2015, breast cancer constitutes 25% of all cancer cases diagnosed around the world. Over the next decade, more than 16 million women will learn that they have breast cancer, and approximately one-third of these women will develop advanced disease (stages III and IV). While global funding for early stage disease has received essential and substantial attention, much fewer resources have been dedicated to advanced breast cancer patients. It is an incurable disease, requiring a robust and individualised response from a given health system, as well as long-term social and psychological resources as patients face complicated decisions, and often face discrimination and a sense of isolation. 


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Last update: 
Thursday 18 April 2019
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