Tumor Microenvironment Network
The Tumor Microenvironment Network, or TMEN, was a program launched by the NCI in 2006 (RFA CA06-014) and reissued in 2010 (RFA CA10-021) that funded research in basic cancer biology to study the mechanisms of tumor-host interactions in human cancer. The initiative funded 20 collaborative Center grants across the country and 10 collaborative U01 grants that brought together a TMEN key investigator and scientists with expertise in other biological systems or organ sites not yet being modeled or studied within TMEN to form a new project in tumor microenvironment research. Better understanding the mechanisms of a tumor’s interaction with its surrounding environment was achieved by: generating a comprehensive understanding of stromal composition; understanding the role of stroma in normal tissues; and discerning the role of stroma in tumor initiation, progression and metastases, as well as responses to treatment.
TMEN was designed as an infrastructure that established repositories of critical reagents, resources and information to promote and facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations and progress in understanding the role of the tumor microenvironment. Through this initiative, the NCI’s Division of Cancer Biology supported research that led to a more comprehensive understanding of the composition of the stroma in normal tissues and advanced the field by furthering scientific understanding regarding the mechanisms of tumor-stromal interactions in human cancer.