Hutch News Stories

Scientists reap benefits of hematology shared resources

Researchers from Clinical, Human Biology and Basic Sciences receive pilot grants in molecular hematology

Seven new studies of blood and immune cells will begin at the center and the University of Washington thanks to income generated from four Fred Hutchinson shared resources.

The seven $30,000 pilot grants were awarded to investigators in three of the center's scientific divisions and one investigator at the UW.

The grant revenue has accumulated from use of facilities funded by the Core Center of Excellence in Molecular Hematology, a $5 million, five-year grant awarded in 1999 from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to Dr. Beverly Torok-Storb and colleagues. Now in its fourth year, the grant supports a set of shared resources that permit researchers to isolate, characterize and analyze the function of specific populations of marrow and blood cells.

"We've generated revenue from user fees, so now our responsibility is to put the money back into the research community," said Torok-Storb, an investigator in the Clinical Research Division.

The core grant was intended to establish the shared resources, with user fees generating income to benefit molecular hematology research.

Selection of the grant recipients was based on scientific merit and, in part, on whether proposed projects would make use of the molecular hematology shared resources.

Revenue from the user fees also has supported a monthly seminar series and will contribute toward the purchase of a spectral karyotyping microscope system, which allows researchers to visualize chromosomes using fluorescence. This 'SKY' system, to be housed in the Basic Sciences Division, will be available for use by investigators in all four scientific divisions.

Torok-Storb said that NIDDK's recent extension of the grant for a sixth year would bring the total award to nearly $6 million. She and colleagues plan to apply for another renewal of the grant when the current funding period ends.

The Core Center of Excellence in Molecular Hematology supports four shared resources:

  • Large-Scale Cell Processing, directed by Dr. Shelly Heimfeld, provides purified samples of specific marrow and blood cells and houses a repository of frozen cell samples from patients and stem-cell donors.
  • Gene Marking and Tracking, directed by Dr. Hans-Peter Kiem, provides services to tag cells of interest with marker genes so that cells can be followed in living organisms.
  • Clonal Analysis, directed by Dr. Michael Harkey, allows researchers to detect the presence of transplanted cells in tissue regardless of whether the genes have been tagged with a marker.
  • NOD/SCID Assay, operated by Cyd Nourigat under the direction of Dr. Irv Bernstein, maintains colonies of NOD/SCID and ?2 knockout mice for assaying the function of human, canine and primate cells. The resource provides technical assistance and data analysis on the engrafted cells.

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