The Small Animal Studies Core (SASC) combines the resources available through the previously reviewed Small Animal Imaging Core with a new Animal Tumor Models component. This combined resource provides exceptional quality services for City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center (COHCCC) members for basic and translational preclinical studies in cancer biology, anti-cancer drug development, and stem cell therapeutic development.

The Small Animal Imaging component of the SASC provides consultation, advanced imaging equipment, imaging services, hands-on training for COHCCC members, and support for protocol and grant preparation. Current systems in the Imaging Laboratory include two units for bioluminescence/fluorescence optical imaging (Ami X and Lago X from Spectral Instruments Imaging) and a PET/SPECT/CT trimodal scanner (Inveon from Siemens). These systems support molecular-based imaging to allow for the monitoring of cellular processes and the non-invasive assessment of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of therapeutic agents. Often the imaging techniques and targeting agents utilized are directly transferable to the clinical setting.

The Animal Tumor Models component of the SASC has established patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of breast, colorectal, lung, sarcoma, and gastric cancers in collaboration with COHCCC physician scientists and has developed next-generation humanized mouse models for research in cancer immunotherapy and in vivo drug metabolism/toxicity studies. The development of PDX models supports precision medicine by allowing investigators to evaluate tumor growth and therapeutic response for individual patients. The Animal Tumor Models component also provides specialized drug delivery services, training for in vivo procedures, and support for protocol preparation and grant development.