The Wistar Institute provides an AAALAC-accredited Animal Facility that serves faculty from the Gene Expression and Regulation, Oncogenesis, and Immunology Cancer Center programs. The facility is maintained as a modified barrier Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2) facility by highly qualified and experienced personnel. In addition to ordering and housing research animals, the facility houses the Mouse Genetics Facility. The Animal Facility supports the severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mouse breeding colony, quarantine housing, technical training, Intravital Imaging System (MS) 200i in vivo imaging capabilities, animal health surveillance, veterinary coverage, new employee hands-on training, and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) testing. Since 2003, The Wistar Institute has invested over $1 million into the Animal Facility for structural upgrades and new equipment supporting Cancer Center programs. A new polishing chiller augments chilled water supplies for cooling, and ensures stable temperature regulation for the Facility during the hottest weather, as well as back-up chilled water supplies in the event of failure in the primary cooling system. Additional upgrades to the facility infrastructure include improved ventilation, security, and emergency capabilities. Direct Digital Control monitoring has been incorporated into all animal rooms, offering 24-hour monitoring of the temperature as well as the heating, ventilation, and air condition (HVAC) system. Research infrastructure improvements include the addition of an IVIS imager, permitting tumor growth monitoring over time at high resolution;new state-of-the-art biocontainment equipment for expanding studies involving viral vectors and other infectious agents;and a transgenic mouse suite for use by the expanding Mouse Genetics Shared Facility. Future goals reflect the needs of cancer researchers and shared facilities and include the purchase of additional bio-containment caging equipment and Class II bio-safety cabinets;an anesthesia machine;a stereomicroscope for mouse surgical procedures;and continued upgrades to security systems.
Animal models of human cancer have become irreplaceable tools to study how cancer behaves in the context of development, microenvironment, immunology, angiogenesis, progression, invasion and metastasis. These studies are only valid if the animals are cared for in a controlled, humane environment. The Animal Facility is run by a very professional staff that ensures these principles.
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