Generation of Human Tumor Atlases

NCI has announced several funding opportunities that align with the Cancer Moonshot.

See Funding Opportunities

Cancer development, progression, and metastasis require complex interactions within the local tumor microenvironment that are mediated by many factors. Although researchers have made progress in understanding these interactions and their role in cancer processes, there are currently major knowledge gaps about the complete multidimensional architecture of tumors. In particular, little is known about how the biological composition and interactions within a tumor change over time and in response to cancer treatments.

This recommendation focuses on the generation of human tumor atlases that describe the various cellular, structural, and molecular characteristics of human cancers over time. Tumor atlases aim to characterize tumors from a diverse population of cancer patients and to describe tumor interactions with the microenvironment and the immune system, to help reveal the processes that underlie malignancy. Additionally, tumor atlases should map multiple stages in cancer ranging from precancerous lesions to advanced cancer metastasis.

The ultimate goal of this recommendation is to predict how cancers develop and respond to treatment in different populations, which will be used to assist researchers in developing new cancer treatments and strategies for cancer prevention.

NCI has awarded funding to the following research project that aligns with this recommendation's goal to generate human tumor atlases:

Human Tumor Atlas Network (HTAN)

HTAN is a collaborative network that is constructing 3-dimensional atlases of the cellular, morphological, molecular features of human cancers over time. There is a focus by the network on generating atlases representing a diverse cancer patient population and high-risk cancers. Additionally, the atlases being created by the network describe important transitions during cancer, such as the transition of pre-malignant cancers to malignant tumors, the progression to metastatic cancer, the response to cancer treatment, and the development of resistance to treatment.

The Human Tumor Atlas (HTA) Research Centers are focused on understanding the behaviors of advanced cancers in an organ-specific manner. The Pre-Cancer Atlas (PCA) Research Centers are focused on conditions that are likely to become cancer. The HTAN Data Coordinating Center manages the data storage, sharing, and compilation of the atlases constructed by the network.

The HTAN aims to represent a diverse patient population, including minority and underserved patients. Preference was given to pediatric and adult cancers that are highly metastatic, cancers that are promising candidates for immunotherapy or not responsive to immunotherapy, and high-risk hereditary tumors.

The comprehensive human tumor atlases that are being created by HTAN will accelerate the biological understanding of cancer and clinical decisions for the care of cancer patients.

Human Tumor Atlas Projects Awarded Cancer Moonshot Funding

Awarded Projects
Funding Opportunity Project Title Institution Principal Investigator(s)
Human Tumor Atlas Network: Data Coordinating Center (U24) Human Tumor Atlas Network: Data Coordinating Center Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Cerami, Ethan; Guinney, Justin; Reynolds, Sheila; Schultz, Nikolaus
Human Tumor Atlases (HTA) Precancer Atlas Research Centers (U2C) Integrative Single-Cell Atlas of Host and Microenvironment in Colorectal Neoplastic Transformation Vanderbilt University Coffey, Robert J; Lau, Ken Siu Kwong; Shrubsole, Martha J
Breast Pre-Cancer Atlas Center Duke University Hwang, Eun-Sil Shelley; Maley, Carlo; West, Robert B
Precancer Atlas of Familial Adenomatous Polyposis Stanford University Snyder, Michael P; Ford, James M
Pre-cancer Atlases of Cutaneous and Hematologic Origin (PATCH Center) Harvard Medical School Sorger, Peter Karl; Aster, Jon C; Santagata, Sandro
The Lung PCA: A Multi-Dimensional Atlas of Pulmonary Premalignancy Boston University Medical Campus Spira, Avrum E; Dubinett, Steven M
Human Tumor Atlases (HTA) Research Centers (U2C) Washington University Human Tumor Atlas Research Center Washington University Ding, Li; Achilefu, Samuel; Fields, Ryan C; Gillanders, William E
Omic and Multidimensional Spatial Atlas of Metastatic Breast and Prostate Cancers Oregon Health & Science University Gray, Joe W; Corless, Christopher L; Goecks, Jeremy; Mills, Gordon B
The Cellular Geography of Therapeutic Resistance in Cancer Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Haining, William Nicholas; Regev, Aviv
Transition to Metastatic State: Lung Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer and Brain Metastasis Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research Pe'er, Dana; Iacobuzio-Donahue, Christine A
Center for Pediatric Tumor Cell Atlas Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Tan, Kai; Hunger, Stephen Patrick
National Cancer Institute Program Project Applications (P01) Integrative Oncogenomics of Multiple Myeloma Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Munshi, Nikhil C
  • Posted: October 22, 2018

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