Over the past 60 years, mouse models have become indispensable in the study of carcinogenesis. Their major advantage lies in the ease with which they can be genetically engineered. The access to conditional lines that allow temporal and spatial activation of oncogenesis has helped researchers to understand basic concepts of cancer, as well as develop and test promising treatments (Hirst and Balmain 2004).

Via the canSERV project, INFRAFRONTIER offers access to several cutting-edge cancer services as Trans-national Access (TA) calls. These services are offered by INFRAFRONTIER partners with world-leading expertise in cancer research and mouse models:

Generation of mouse models using CRISPR-Cas9

The personalised cancer mouse model generation service involves project design including prediction of off-target sites, preparation of sgRNA’s and Cas9 mRNA/protein, and injection into zygotes to generate F0 founder mutant animals (C57BL/6N or C57BL/6J genetic background preferred). Selected F0 animals will be bred to germline to produce F1 genome edited animals. Possible allele types that can be generated are indels, exon deletions (< 10kb) and point mutation insertions. Newly developed mouse models will be made available to selected applicants within an average of 12 months following provision of all required information to start the mouse production.


In-depth cancer-based phenotyping

This service combines mouse breeding and experimental animal pathology. The mouse breeding includes the breeding, genotyping and selection of the mice that will be phenotyped. The mouse handling involves the bi-weekly palpation of the mice, measuring the tumors and checking for metastasis and overall welfare. It also involves sacrificing the mice for dissection and freezing down and storing the viable tumor pieces. A health check will be performed and tumors genotyped. The experimental animal pathology encompasses the complete necropsy of 15 mice, followed by complete histology (tissue trimming, processing, paraffin embedding, sectioning, staining with hematoxylin and eosin), and histopathology report of all abnormalities (phenotypes) of several body parts and organs.

Service providers: NKI CCP

Cancer and gut microbiota interaction pipeline in mouse models

The access unit covers the derivation of a single mouse mutant line into a germ-free condition, from a breeding nucleus or from frozen materials provided by the applicants. Mice will be kept under germ-free conditions for 12 weeks. The service includes the access to tumor samples, organs, tissues and biofluids from the germ-free mice (and SPF controls if requested). Tumor follow-up and solid tumor size will be measured following guidelines provided by the applicants. Mutant mouse lines will be provided by the selected applicants as live animals (minimum of 10 females and 5 males) or quality controlled frozen embryos or sperm (minimum of 40 embryos or 2 straws of sperm). The service provider will transfer and breed mice under SPF conditions (if SPF controls are needed), and introduce and foster 2 litters or 8 animals into one germ-free isolator until 3 months of age.

Service provider: IGC

Secondary phenotyping of cancer mouse models

In this service, user-provided mice cohorts are analysed systematically covering a broad range of tests to identify novel phenotypes. These tests and screens analyse the behaviour, neurology, clinical chemistry, nociception, dysmorphology, allergy, energy metabolism, cardiovascular function, sight, immunology and pathology.

Service providers: HMGU MLC

Intravital microscopy (IVM) with fluorescent biosensors in mouse models of cancer

Intravital microscopy (IVM) is the study of localization and dynamics of cellular processes relevant to cancer within the native tumor microenvironment. Services include housing of mice, surgical procedures necessary for installation of optical imaging windows adjacent to an tumors/organ of interest. Cancer model may include orthotopic/ectopic xenograft models in immunodeficient, syngeneic mouse tumor cell lines that can be genetically modified to express fluorescent reporters proteins for imaging purposes and genetic mouse models engineered to develop cancer.

Service providers: CNR UOULU

Digital pathology and Machine Learning-based image analysis

This service offers quality-controlled digitised whole-slide histological images of tumour and parallel normal tissue, including annotated pathological and survival data and dissector with laser acquisition.

Service provider: UOULU

Interested in using the above services free-of-charge for your research? Then…

Apply here

Our other cancer resources


The INFRAFRONTIER Cancer Resource is intended to help cancer researchers find an EMMA strain suitable for their work. Users can browse through EMMA strains associated to more than 50 different cancer types. Additional information like phenotypic description from MGI and EMMA strain submitters is also accessible.

Manually-curated Cancer Mouse Models

Another important INFRAFRONTIER resource is the list of manually-curated disease models for cancer. The listed strains have been accurately and systematically curated and annotated, as they carry mutant alleles or transgenes and express phenotypes which precisely model particular cancer types, according to the original reports in the associated peer-reviewed publications.


The Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) has created a unique archive of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) derived from validated genetically engineered mouse models (GEMM) of cancer. Check it out here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Trans-national Access (TA) call?

TA calls provide trans-national access to researchers or research teams to one or more services among those offered by INFRAFRONTIER partners. These access activities are implemented in a coordinated way to improve the overall services available to the research community. Access is made available to external users, either in person (‘hands-on’) or through the provision of remote scientific services, such as the provision of reference materials or samples or analysis of samples.

Who can participate in a Trans-national Access call?

Proposals for this Trans-national Access call can be submitted from non-commercial applicants around the world. Only 20% of the access units will be allocated to users that are not EU-member states or EU-associated states.

Are these services completely free-of-charge?

Yes, These services are covered by the canSERV project (Horizon Europe). Please refer to the canSERV website for more details.

INFRAFRONTIER® and European Mouse Mutant Archive - EMMA® are registered trademarks at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).