The ambition of the VIB Center for Cancer Biology (CCB) is to contribute to a better understanding of the biology that underlies cancer initiation, progression and metastatic dissemination with the ultimate goal to develop more effective and specific anti-cancer (combination) therapies.
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KU Leuven Mouse Facility
To perform the functional genomics projects, the VRC is currently using 20,000 mice, housed in over 7,000 mouse cages, spread over different facilities. The VRC has more than 300 active breeding transgenic mouse lines. The VRC has access to the following mouse facilities:
A Specific Pathogen Free facility (SPF), in the direct vicinity of the VRC laboratories, capable of maintaining 1,300 mouse cages in an environment free of infectious agents known to be pathogenic or capable of interfering with research objectives (see also FELASA). The facility is equipped with top filter cages, has totally independent air filtration (HVAC) systems, sterile water supplies, autoclaved food supplies, emergency surveillance and highly restricted access. The SPF unit has also 1 microinjection and 1 aggregation lab for the production of transgenic mouse lines. This SPF facility also disposes of its own Quarantine Unit, equipped with 3 IVC racks (189 cages) to prevent cross contamination between new incoming mouse strains. Incoming strains only enter this Quarantine Unit after a rederivation process by embryo transfer.
A second SPF facility with an extended capacity of 15,000 cages is additionally available in the nearby KU Leuven Animal Research Center. Presently VRC scientists have access to 1200 cages in this facility.
Two Quarantine Facilities (190 & 380 cages). All incoming mice are transferred to a quarantine facility prior to entering any of the animal facilities. They are kept in quarantine until their health status is definitely determined. Their health status will determine in which animal facility they can be housed. If the hygienic quality is insufficient, animals can be prepared for rederivation prior to access into SPF facilities. Mice undergoing a rederivation procedure are housed in the second Quarantine Facility. Both Quarantine Facilities are equipped with IVC racks to prevent cross contamination between mouse strains.
Two Conventional Mouse Facilities. Animals, housed in these facilities, are also actively monitored, but the health quality requirements are less stringent as compared to the SPF. Presently the VRC occupies about 3500 cages in these facilities.
The VRC Mouse Clinic contains 500 IVC cages, which are only used for housing animals enrolled in ongoing surgical experiments.