Preclinical studies with murine tumor models have demonstrated that tumor cell vaccines engineered to secrete certain cytokines in a paracrine fashion elicit systemic immune responses capable of eliminating small amounts of established tumor. In particular, tumors that express the cytokine GM-CSF produce potent systemic antitumor immune responses against poorly immunogenic murine tumors. These results have encouraged the development of paracrine-cytokine secreting tumor vaccines for gene therapy of human cancer. GM-CSF recruits professional antigen-presenting cells, which in turn activate effector T cells. These findings suggest that allogeneic as well as autologous tumor cells can be used as the tumor source for developing cancer vaccines. A major obstacle to creating genetically modified human allogeneic tumor vaccines is the absence of stable cell lines required for efficient gene transfer, because most human tumors isolated from primary surgical specimens fail to proliferate in long-term culture. We have developed a method for the routine generation of in vitro cell lines from primary tumors of the pancreas. This method overcomes the common problem of stromal and fibroblast overgrowth that can inhibit the in vitro expansion of many histologic types of tumors. In addition, we have analyzed 12 of these cell lines for cytokeritin and mutated K-ras expression to demonstrate that they derive from the original epithelial tumor tissue. The lines can be genetically modified to stably express the cytokine GM-CSF. These methods should be helpful to investigators attempting to establish cell lines from other histologic tumor types for the development of allogeneic genetically modified tumor vaccines.