International Collaboration to Create Models to Accelerate Cancer Research


    The National Cancer Institute (NCI), Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and the Foundation Hubrecht Organoid Technology are all coming together to develop the Human Cancer Models Initiative (HCMI), bringing together expertise from around the world to make around 1,000 cancer cell models. Using new technology, scientists can make models that resemble tissue architecture and complexity of human tumors that the cell lines used today.

    Scientists will make the models using tissue from patients with different types of cancer, potentially including rare and children’s cancers, which are often under-represented or not available at all in existing cell line collections. Director of NCI’s Center for Cancer Genomics, Dr. Louis Straudt said “This effort is a first step towards learning how to use these tools to design individualized treatments,” with new models having the potential to accurately reflect the biology of tumors more accurately and better represent the entire patient population. The tumor and the derived models will all be genetically sequenced, and researchers will have access to this information as well as the clinical data for the patient.

    Dr. Mathew Garnett from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute said: “New cancer model derivation technologies are allowing us to generate even more and improved cancer models for research. A concerted and coordinated effort to make new models will accelerate this process, while also allowing for rapid learning, protocol sharing, and standardized culturing methods.”

    This collaboration’s prime initiative aims to speed up development of newer models, helping to make research more efficient by avoiding unnecessary scientific efforts. HCMI could help transform research and allow scientists the ability to study aspects of cellular biology and cancer, including disease progression, resistance to drug use, and development of precision medicine treatments.

    Dr. Hans Clevers, from the foundation Hubrecht Organoid Technology, said: “We are delighted to take part in this global partnership to make new resources for researchers.”


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