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Tumor Microenvironment Initiative

The NCI launched the Tumor Microenvironment initiative in 2006 (RFA CA06-014) and reissued it in 2010 (RFA CA10-021) to fund several new collaborative Centers across the country. The primary objective of the Tumor Microenvironment initiative is to delineate mechanisms of tumor-host interactions in human cancer by: generating a comprehensive understanding of stromal composition; understanding the role of stroma in normal tissues; and discerning the role of stroma in tumor initiation, progression and metastases as well as responses to treatment. A second, but equally important component of the tumor microenvironment initiative is the Tumor Microenvironment Network. As members of the Network, each program grantee participates in collaborative efforts with other Network members to develop resources such as repositories of critical reagents and information.

Scientific Objectives of TMEN

The Tumor Microenvironment Network (TMEN) RFA was designed to promote tumor microenvironment research focused on understanding the role of host stroma in tumorigenesis and therapeutic responses. Through this RFA, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) invited applications from groups of investigators interested in forming Research Centers (cooperative agreement U54s) that together would form an interactive Network.  The main scientific objectives of TMEN are:


  • To encourage fundamental research aimed at a comprehensive understanding of the composition of the stroma in normal tissues as well as its roles in tumor initiation, progression, and metastasis
  • To delineate mechanisms of tumor-stroma interactions in human cancer 
  • To identify the mechanism(s) by which tumor stroma may affect response to treatment

In addition to these general NCI priorities, NINDS is particularly interested in research programs relevant to primary brain tumors or peripheral nervous system tumors.


Development of TMEN Resources and Infrastructure

The TMEN Network, a collaborative effort of the TMEN investigators, works toward identifying and developing resources by leveraging expertise of the individual members, generating novel reagents and technologies and disseminating information and resources of importance and interest to the research community.

Network Scientific Goals

  • Develop resources and reagents critical to the analysis of the tumor microenvironment
  • Develop novel technologies for use in tumor microenvironment research
  • Outreach activities to facilitate dissemination of such resources and technologies to the broader research community 

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