Researchers Create More Accurate Cancer Cell Culture Models

New models can improve accuracy of cancer research.

Scientists have started developing a bank of more precise cancer cell culture models for use in future research.

A team from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Cancer Research UK, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and Hubrecht Organoid Technology are all involved in creating approximately 1000 cancer cell models. The researchers will use new techniques to create models that would better resemble the complexity of tumors than cell lines that are currently used.

“This exciting new project means that we can expand our resources for researchers around the world,” said Ian Walker, PhD, Cancer Research 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 researchers plan to create the models using patient tissues, and can potentially lead to the creation of cell lines that do not exist. Once these models are created, data about the patient and their tumor, as well as the cell line model, will be available for other researchers to use.

The HCMI initiative could allow researchers to study disease progression, drug resistance, and explore precision medicine.

“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 Louis Staudt, MD, PhD, director of NCI's Center for Cancer Genomics. “This effort is a first step towards learning how to use these tools to design individualized treatments.