Dosimetry Consultation Services
Biology Project Support: pre- and post-irradiation. Because this Core Facility principally supports cancer biology research, new users’ first interaction with the Core Facility will be with the operations manager, a biologist. The operations manager will determine the feasibility and the resources required to accomplish the investigator’s aims and then coordinate with physics support on dosimetry and appropriate setup. The level of interaction will be based upon the investigator’s experience, which can range from novice to expert—the aim is not to direct, but to facilitate experiments. The Biology Project Support group can provide expertise on cell or animal models and relevant biological endpoints, and train or support the use of technology vital to post-irradiation endpoints. Resources and support available to investigators will include, but not be limited to:
- Small animal models. Preclinical animal models are typically immunocompetent or immunocompromised mice or rats. Irradiation endpoints may include normal tissue responses, such as lung fibrosis, mucositis, skin lesions (desquamation or hair loss), or bone marrow depletion. Tumor models include subcutaneously implanted human tumors in immune compromised mice or rats, surgically implanted human tumor cells and PDXs in the tissue of origin of immune-compromised animals, and syngeneic tumors implanted subcutaneously or orthotopically in immune-competent mice or rats. Other animal models include Drosophila, Medaka and Zebrafish.
- Large animal models. Large animal irradiation requires the use of linear accelerators ordinarily used for human patients. A miniature pig model (Gottingen minipig) has been routinely irradiated to examine radiation neurotoxicity and methods of sparing. These animals are also excellent models for studying skin response and other normal tissue endpoints, including radiation protection.
- Functional analysis at the tissue or cellular level. Biology Project Support can train users to perform specific assays, or users can engage the Core Facility to carry out those assays. These could include clonogenic survival, DNA damage and repair analyses, cell cycle analysis, apoptosis assays, metabolic profiling, blood collections (animal studies), and tumor collection for immunohistochemistry and immunological studies, such as immune cell typing, lung fibrosis, or hypoxia. Some of these assays may require interaction with other UTSW Core Services.
- Cell line and tumor portfolio. Biology Project Support has a broad catalog of over 100 tumor cell lines representing head and neck, lung, breast, pancreatic, prostate, brain and other cancers. At least 20 of these cell lines have been stably infected with the luciferase gene to monitor growth as cells or as implanted tumors. All of these cell lines can be implanted subcutaneously into immune-compromised mice or rats, and many of these cell lines can be implanted orthotopically. Syngeneic mouse and rat tumor models for breast, lung, head and neck, pancreas, prostate and brain are also available. Investigators are also free to use their own models.