The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center (NCCC) will continue in its mission to support basic research on the molecular genetic mechanisms underlying cancer, and translational research aimed at using discoveries in basic science to improve patient care. Now in its 17'*^ year of operation, the Transgenic/Knockout Mouse Core continues to offer a full range of mouse genome manipulation services. These include the targeting of genes in ES cells, the generation of gene targeted mice by injection of ES cells into blastocysts, and the production of transgenic mice by pronuclear injection. In addition to these major services, the Core also offers a number of ancillary services, including cryopreservation of embryos, rederivation of mouse strains, and in vitro fertilization. Finally, in the long term, the Core proposes to offer ES cell injection and gene knockouts in rats. In addition to funding from the Cancer Center Core Grant, the Core receives a large contribution from the Keck School of Medicine ($150,000 in FY 09-10, projected to continue yearly).The Core also receives support from the Zilkha Neurogenetics Institute ($25,000) and the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences ($10,000). This broad support from several USC schools/Institutes leverages the CCCG contribution, enabling the Core to continue to offer a wide range of services at competitive prices to Cancer Center investigators. The Core is directed by Robert Maxson, Ph.D. Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (5% FTE). It is staffed by Dr. Nancy Wu (90%), an expert mouse embryologist and injectionist with 17 years of experience;and Dr. Mandy Ting (50%), an expert in ES cell manipulation. Assisting with all of Core functions is Youzhen Yan (90%) and John Johnson (10%). Core policies, including pricing, are set by a User's Committee in consultation with the Cancer Center Executive Committee. Outside prices are established by cost analysis. Prices for in house investigators are reduced from outside prices, depending on the academic affiliation of the investigator and the extent to which the investigator's unit supports the Core. Prices are listed online on the Core's website in the NCCC Shared Resources webpage. Also on the Core's website are order forms for Core services. The Core at its current staffing of 2.45 FTEs has the ability to perform four to six pronuclear injections, one gene targeting in ES cells, and one to two injections of ES cells into blastocysts to produce targeted mice.
Access for NCCC investigators to state-of-the-art transgenic and knockout mouse technology is fundamental to the dual goals of supporting basic research on the molecular genetic mechanisms underlying cancer and translational research aimed at using discoveries in basic science to improve patient care. This technology is a virtual requirement for understanding the roles of specific genes in oncogenic processes, and is also increasingly important in translational studies on potential new therapies.
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