BETHESDA, Md., July 11 (UPI) -- In an effort to accelerate cancer research through international collaboration, the National Institutes of Health is partnering with three European organizations to make models of cancer available to researchers around the world.
The NIH's National Cancer Institute, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Hubrecht Organoid Technology are launching the Human Cancer Models Initiative to improve samples used in research.
The hope is to decrease duplication of scientific efforts and make research more efficient as scientists work to cure cancer by studying how the disease progresses, reduce drug resistance, and develop precision medicine treatments based on commonalities between patients.
"New cancer model derivation technologies are allowing us to generate even more and improved cancer models for research," Dr. Mathew Garnett, group leader at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said in a press release. "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."
While protecting patient privacy, the aim of the HMCI is to make genetic sequencing data from tumors, as well as clinical data on patients and their individual tumors, more widely available for scientists using new techniques to create better models of tissue architecture and how tumors develop.
The models will include many different types of cancer, including rare cancers and children's cancers which the organizations say are often underrepresented or not available in existing cell line collections.
"As part of NCI's Precision Medicine Initiative in oncology, this new project is timed perfectly to take advantage of the latest cell culture and genomic sequencing techniques to create models that are representative of patient tumors and are annotated with genomic and clinical information," said Dr. Louis Staudt, director of the NCI's Center for Cancer Genomics. "This effort is a first step toward learning how to use these tools to design individualized treatments."