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About the Human Cancer Models Initiative (HCMI)

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The Human Cancer Models Initiative is creating next-generation cell models for the research community.

The Human Cancer Models Initiative (HCMI) is an international consortium that is generating novel, next-generation, tumor-derived culture models that are annotated with genomic, clinical, and biospecimen data. HCMI uses current culture techniques to develop cancer models for translational cancer research and other experiments.

Next-generation cancer models (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 used to define essential basic and cancer biology pathways, determine mechanisms of drug resistance, and 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.

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 available including protocols used for model development, standard operating procedures, templates for informed consent, and clinical data case report forms

Consortium Members and Roles

HCMI was created by a consortium consisting of NCI, Cancer Research UK (CRUK), the Wellcome Sanger Institute (WSI), and the foundation Hubrecht Organoid Technology (HUB). The consortium shares models, knowledge, and protocols to advance and refine model development. The specifics of collected data by each institution are not identical, but every effort is being made to maintain uniformity. Learn more about consortium members and their roles below:

National Cancer Institute

NCI’s Center for Cancer Genomics (CCG) manages the NCI-supported Cancer Model Development Centers (CMDCs) and downstream model development pipeline. CCG also helps to facilitate communication between the CMDCs and the model development teams from CRUK, WSI, and HUB. HCMI is a part of precision oncology efforts and contributes to NCI’s Cancer Moonshot℠ initiative

Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and Wellcome Sanger Institute (WSI)

CRUK and WSI are supporting organoid generation for the United Kingdom’s arm of the HCMI. CRUK leverages their unique network of clinical sites to access clinical samples, while WSI derives and sequences organoid models and associated normal and tumor tissues. 

Hubrecht Organoid Technology (HUB)

HUB is a foundation generating cancer models and collecting case-associated clinical and molecular characterization data.


The governance group of the founders has been established to ensure the coordination of all efforts within the HCMI.

Model Distributor

The models are broadly available through a single third-party distributor, American Type Culture Collection (ATCC). ATCC is a nonprofit biorepository whose mission for the HCMI is to acquire cancer models from the generating laboratories; perform standard intake procedures, expand and preserve the models; and globally distribute the models and standard operating procedures, images, and other model-specific culture information.

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