Within the Clinical Genomics and Advanced Technologies (CGAT) laboratory, the goals of department-wide research initiatives are:
- Provide state-of-the-art diagnostic services to support our providers and patients
- Engage in and support cutting-edge research that will translate to novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for our patients
- Provide educational opportunities in the genomics space at all levels.
The Department oversees four collaborative research resource programs:
- E.D.I.T. (Emerging Diagnostic and Investigative Technologies) Program
- Pathology Translational Research Shared Resource (PSR)
- Cell Therapy Center (CTC)
- Institutional Biorepository (IBR)
The E.D.I.T. (Emerging Diagnostic and Investigative Technologies) Program
This integrated and collaborative program houses innovative diagnostic technologies for projects spanning these four fields:
- Machine learning and computational diagnostic pathology
Using artificial intelligence and digital sciences to implement and commercialize enhanced algorithms designed to remove subjectivity from the analysis of clinical data and to provide concrete, statistically driven recommendations to researchers, clinicians, and patients.
- Biomarker discovery:
Identifying novel pathways and biomarkers for faster diagnosis of disease, refined disease classifications, and better monitoring of disease progression.
- Advanced ancillary testing:
Developing and evaluating advanced technologies for research applications that can translate to clinical practice (examples: digital spatial profiling, CRISPR, STAT molecular testing and mass spectroscopy).
- Genomic Medicine:
Expanding population health studies regionally, nationally and globally (examples NCI-MATCH, Weight and Wellness Center, Honduras, Kosovo, Rwanda).
Pathology Translational Research Shared Resource (PSR)
This is a designated Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) Shared Resource facility, created to provide investigators access to the following in a CLIA-licensed, CAP-accredited laboratory environment:
- Biomarker testing
- Cell therapy services
- Latest technologies for genomic studies
The PSR has dedicated staff for tissue preparation, processing, and staining for animal tissues, cell cultures, and human tissues.
Immunohistochemistry (IHC) for routine antibodies or the validation of new antibodies (including fluorescent-labeled antibody staining) is offered.
Multiplex double-staining techniques for nucleic acids and proteins along with the creation of tissue arrays are also available.
Investigators have access to more than 25 subspecialty pathologists who can assist in experimental design, tissue selection, and stain interpretations.
Cell Therapy Center (CTC)
The Cell Therapy Center (CTC) supports the technical needs of projects related to bone marrow transplantation and cancer immunotherapy with cell-based therapies.
Directed by Zbigniew M. Szczepiorkowski, MD, PhD, the CTC is a GMP facility that isolates, purifies, manipulates, expands, and/or stores cells derived from a patient's/subject's peripheral blood and/or bone marrow and intended for autologous reinfusion.
To ensure patient safety and to meet all current and expected FDA Investigational New Drug (IND) requirements and (future) product licensure requirements, the CTC operates in compliance with the FDA's current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), using personnel and techniques that meet all CLIA-88 requirements for clinical laboratories.
The physical space of the CTC has been expanded to allow accommodation of negative pressure rooms that would allow for the use of lentivirus-based vectors and studies of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified cells.
Institutional Biorepository (IBR)
The Pathology Department has developed the infrastructure for collection, processing, storage, and distribution of annotated human bio-specimens to clinicians and other investigators in support of clinical trials, industry-sponsored projects, and scientific investigations.
The Institutional Biorepository (IBR) has banked a variety of tissue/specimen types and extracted nucleic acids.
All bio-specimen handling, processing, and storage is standardized, with established operating procedures, in accordance with the College of American Pathologists regulatory Bio-repository checklist.