The Flow Cytometry Resource Facility (FCRF) at the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center (IUSCC) is a centralized shared facility providing multiple flow cytometric services to over 100 investigators at the Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM). The FCRF is a strictly research-dedicated, fee-for-service core laboratory with flow cytometric cell sorting being a major service provided by this facility. The FCRF was established in 1985 and has been part of the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center since 1992. During Calendar-Year 2010, forty-four investigators used over 1600 hours of cell sorting and in the last 7 years, the number of investigators using cell sorting services at the FCRF ranged between 41 and 53 per year. The majority of these investigators hold federally funded grants (primarily R01, P01 and R21 NIH grants and similar DoD grants). Many of the cell samples subjected to cell sorting by different users are classified as BSL2 or BSL3 and the handling of these cells should therefore follow guidelines established by the Institutional Biosafety Committee, the International Society of Analytical Cytometry Biosafety Guidelines, and the developing NIH-wide standards for biosafety in cell sorting laboratories. At present, one of the 3 sorters in the FCRF is a 13-year old FACSVantage SE that cannot be maintained under a service agreement anymore and that cannot be reconfigured to comply with any of the new biocontainment requirements for the safe handling of biohazardous materials. We are therefore requesting funds to acquire a Special Becton Dickinson FACSAria System for cell sorting composed of five lasers and contained completely within a BSL2/BSL3 biosafety cabinet. Our justification of need for this instrument is based on three critical necessities. First, BD does no service our FACSVantage SE anymore. In fact, since the original submission of this application, this instrument has been technically out of commission. Second, the evolving policies on biosafety levels, containment, and practices in flow cytometry by many governing bodies require the use of cell sorters with BSL2/BSL3 containment systems with many of the cell types subjected to cell sorting at the FCRF and which cannot be accomplished by the FACSVantage SE. Third, technological advancements in flow cytometry in general and cell sorting in particular make the FACSVantage SE a rather ineffective and inefficient cell sorter for most users wishing to apply state-of-the-art technologies in their research. These hard realities are at present creating a considerable strain on the availability of services provided by the FCRF for investigators and are beginning in some cases to hinder their productivity and competitiveness in securing extramural funding for their research. Acquisition of this new cell sorter should allow almost fifty investigators at the IUSM to conduct their research for years to come within a safe and compliant biocontainment environment and to benefit from state-of-the-art technologies that promote first class investigations and enhance cutting edge science.
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