The Human Cancer Models Initiative (HCMI) is a collaboration between the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) – part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Cancer Research UK (CRUK), Wellcome Sanger Institute (WSI), and foundation Hubrecht Organoid Technology (HUB). The goal of HCMI is to create up to 1,000 next-generation cancer models from patient tumors that are clinically and molecularly characterized, with collected data harmonized and accessible through the NCI's Genomic Data Commons (GDC) or the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI). The HCMI uses current culture techniques to develop cancer models for translational cancer research and other experiments.

These cancer models may be utilized to define essential basic and cancer biology pathways, determine mechanisms of drug resistance, assess response to small molecules, etc. The models serve as valuable resource for translational cancer research and may contribute to the development of innovative therapeutic strategies, identification of novel diagnostic markers, and individualized patient treatment plans.

  • NCI supports four Cancer Model Development Centers (CMDCs) to generate cancer models originating from patient tissues. HCMI is a part of the Precision Oncology efforts and contributes to NCI’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
  • Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (WSI) are supporting model generation as well as clinical and molecular characterization of cancer organoids.
  • The foundation Hubrecht Organoid Technology (HUB) is generating cancer models and collecting case-associated clinical and molecular characterization data.

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 including protocols used for model development, SOPs, templates for informed consent, and clinical data case report forms (CRFs) available.


Last updated: November 09, 2020