Four of the industry leading research groups in the EU have joined to launch an international project with the aim to set up a large, globally accessible, bank of new cancer cell culture models for future research.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the foundation Hubrecht Organoid Technology are joining forces to develop the Human Cancer Models Initiative (HCMI).

The collaboration intends to combine expertise from around the world to generate 1,000 cancer cell models that can offer better representation of the tissue architecture and complexity of human tumours than cell lines currently used today.

The scientists will make the models by using tissue from patients with different types of cancer, which will potentially include rare forms and cancers found specifically within children, which are often under-represented or not available at all in existing cell line collections.

"This exciting new project means that we can expand our resources for researchers around the world," said Dr Ian Walker, CCR UK's director of clinical research "We want scientists to have the best resources to be able to easily study all types of cancer. And these new cell lines could transform how we study cancer and could help to develop better treatments for patients."

The HCMI partners aim to speed up development of new models and to make research more efficient by avoiding unnecessary duplication of scientific efforts that would occur otherwise.

Dr Mathew Garnett, group leader at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said: "New cancer model derivation technologies are allowing us to generate even more and improved cancer models for research. A concerted and coordinated effort to make new models will accelerate this process, while also allowing for rapid learning, protocol sharing, and standardised culturing methods."

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