The Human Cancer Models Initiative (HCMI) is an international collaboration between the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) – part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Cancer Research UK (CRUK), Wellcome Sanger Institute (WSI), and foundation Hubrecht Organoid Technology (HUB). The goal of HCMI is to create up to 1,000 patient-derived Next-generation Cancer Models (NGCMs) such as organoids, conditionally reprogrammed cells, neurospheres, or optimal growth condition models as a community resource. HCMI aims to provide the models’ case-associated data, which includes quality-checked clinical, biospecimen, and molecular characterization data from the models, the tissues from which they were derived, and normal tissues, when available. Available harmonized data are accessible through the NCI's Genomic Data Commons (GDC) or the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI). The HCMI uses current culture techniques to develop cancer models for translational cancer research and other experiments.

NGCM systems present a unique opportunity for the scientific community to study individual human tumors in vitro to further advance knowledge in a variety of research areas such as development of novel cancer therapeutics, cancer biology, biochemistry, and genetics. These cancer models may be utilized to define essential basic and cancer biology pathways, determine mechanisms of drug resistance, assess response to small molecules, etc. The models serve as valuable resource for translational cancer research and may contribute to the development of individualized patient treatment plans.

  • NCI supports four Cancer Model Development Centers (CMDCs) to generate cancer models originating from patient tissues. HCMI is a part of the Precision Oncology efforts and contributes to NCI’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
  • Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WSI) are supporting model generation as well as clinical and molecular characterization of cancer organoids.
  • The foundation Hubrecht Organoid Technology (HUB) is generating cancer models and collecting case-associated clinical and molecular characterization data.

The initiative has the following objectives:

  • to provide a resource of novel cancer models to the research community that are characterized with clinical, biospecimen, and molecular data.
  • to make resources including protocols used for model development, SOPs, templates for informed consent, and clinical data case report forms (CRFs) available.
Last updated: June 04, 2021