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Comparative Molecular Pathology Unit (CMPU)

Developing molecular diagnostics for research

The CMPU aims to ascertain gene function in the context of cell networks and organ systems biopathways. This is approached by developing capabilities in molecular diagnostics and by establishing a teaching laboratory to aid other investigators in building discovery within a tumor biology context. With the Animal Models Initiative Committee, the CMPU seeks to address CCR needs for a comprehensive portfolio of clinical diagnostic and laboratory medicine capabilities to aid longitudinal (when feasible) approaches to credential molecular events occurring in the development, growth and metastasis of experimental cancers in a variety of models.

CMPU personnel collaborate with and support CCR investigators developing novel immunohistochemical assays designed to probe for different markers on an array of tissues including human, nonhuman primate, and rodent. The unit has recently begun supporting and providing instruction in laser capture microdissection to CCR laboratories in Bethesda.

Mouse proteomics: The Unit has undertaken pilot studies in mice to determine the technical feasibility and organizational needs required for the CCR to begin supporting wide scale proteomic analyses for CCR animal studies. We have assayed approximately 310 sera from 65 tumor-bearing mice and are analyzing mass/charge spectra for differential patterns of protein expression. The initiative is to develop proteomic and other approaches useful in animals for defining disease or treatment response mechanisms, including defining target endpoints, surrogate markers or toxic endpoints that are relevant for clinical studies or drug testing. Projects include collaborations with US Navy Gyn/Onc Surgery, and the NCI-FDA clinical proteomics program.