Dana-Farber Cancer Institute maintains a variety of resources to support the research and educational activities of Dana-Farber faculty. These core facilities, shared resources, and integrative research centers offer research services to the Boston research community, including academic institutions and industry.
Also visit our Integrative Research Centers.
Biospecimen Repository Core
The Biospecimen Repository provides long-term storage of clinical and research material in -80º C and liquid nitrogen freezers. Transportation of samples to and from the repository is provided for an additional fee. Competitive prices are available on a per box or per freezer basis in either segregated or non-segregated environments.
- Identification of material by bar coding.
- Inventory by FreezerWorks for non-clinical samples and caTissue for clinical specimens
- Product transportation in IATA-compliant cryogenic shipping containers and accessories
- Equipment monitoring and on-call manpower for after hour alarms and full disaster recovery plans
- Emergency back-up gas generators
- LN² optional backup for -80º C freezers
- CAMS automated security system continuously monitoring the function of the storage equipment
The core provides affordable monthly fees inclusive of operation and maintenance, and costs that are proportional to your storage needs.
Biostatistics provides expertise for the planning, conduct, analysis, and reporting of clinical trials, epidemiologic and population based studies, studies in genetic susceptibility of cancer, and experiments in basic research in the biology of cancer. Services also include: advice and consultation in efficient and accurate database design and management of clinical research data; scientific computing for data analysis and scientific graphics; and education in the areas of study design, data collection, computerization, and statistical methods for laboratory, clinical, and population based studies.
Paul Catalano, ScD
Rebecca Gelman, PhD
Clinical Research Laboratory
The Clinical Research Laboratory (CRL) utilizes protocol-driven standard operating procedures for the processing of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamic, and biomarker samples. This includes the processing, storage, and tracking of all research specimens to ensure the successful completion of clinical trials associated with patient treatment. The CRL is dedicated to the highest standards of specimen handling to maintain the integrity of data procurement and analysis for clinical trials.
- Separation of plasma and serum from blood samples
- Isolation of mononuclear cells
- Mononuclear cell counting
- DNA isolation
- Cell counts and lysates
- 24 hour urine volume and aliquot
- Processing of other body fluids such as urine, cerebrospinal fluid, ductal lavage, oral mucosal washings etc.
- Bone Marrow aspirate and blood fixation
- Special processing as negotiated with sponsor
- Short term storage of research specimens
Confocal and Light Microscopy Core
The Confocal and Light Microscopy Core provides state-of-the-art imaging microscopy technology for fixed and live cells and tissues, along with scientific and technical expertise to assist in experimental design and optimal image collection. Imaging techniques available through the core are standard fluorescence, live-cell long term imaging, confocal, TIRF, FRET, and spectral imaging. Available equipment includes a spinning disk confocal microscope, a Leica SP5 laser scanning confocal with a white light laser, and an inverted widefield fluorescence microscope. Training on all equipment, consultation about various imaging techniques, and assistance with image analysis is also available. Core staff are also able to assist with troubleshooting microscope issues in individual research labs.
- Standard fluorescence
- Live-cell long term imaging
- Fluorescence spectral detection
- Calcium imaging
- Fluorescence lifetime imaging
- Yokogawa spinning disk confocal microscope (Andor)
- Leica SP5 laser scanning confocal with a white light laser
- Nikon inverted widefield fluorescence microscope
Connell and O'Reilly Families Cell Manipulation Core
The Connell and O’Reilly Families Cell Manipulation Core Facility assists researchers in developing new cell-based therapies for cancer. All cell manufacturing procedures are performed in environmentally controlled conditions according to current Good Manufacturing Practices for cell and tissue processing. Services include the processing of hematopoietic stem cells for autologous or allogeneic transplantation, generation of tumor vaccines using genetic or culture mediated modification of tumor cells, and preparation of immune cell populations for adoptive cellular therapy.
Cell processing for patients enrolled in clinical research protocols, including:
- Processing of hematopoietic stem cells
- Preparation of tumor vaccines
- Generation of T cells for adoptive immunotherapy
- At present, the cellular components produced by the CMCF fall into three categories:
- Manipulated hematopoietic progenitor cell (HPC) components
- Tumor cell vaccines
- Tumor-specific immunotherapy components
Since most cell manipulation procedures are distinct and developmental, the cost of each procedure is determined individually for each protocol. Charges to principal investigators are based on the laboratory costs determined for each protocol.
Director: Jerome Ritz, MD
Assistant Medical Director:
Sarah Nikiforow, MD, PhD
Experimental Therapeutics Core
The Experimental Therapeutics (ETx) Core is a preclinical resource to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) researchers and collaborators for conducting in vivo pharmacological studies. Studies will be run at a 14,000-square-foot preclinical facility shared with the Lurie Family Imaging Center (LFIC) that features bioluminescent imaging using the IVIS Spectrum system.
Our mission is to help DFCI investigators by providing high quality in vivo pharmacology studies that enable DFCI investigators’ translational research and chemistry and drug discovery/development efforts. These include studies that determine efficacy of new therapies and new combinations, advance preclinical studies to initiate clinical trials, and target identification and validation.
The Experimental Therapeutics Core will provide expertise for in vivo pharmacology studies, including drug tolerability and efficacy studies; pharmacodynamic and mechanism-of-action studies, and tumor model development. Our capabilities include both subcutaneous and orthotopic tumor implantations and animal dosing by all common routes of administration, e.g. intraperitoneal, intravenous, oral and subcutaneous, and in combination. Comprehensive tumor and tissue harvesting is available for every study. Fresh samples can be sent to investigators or preserved by formalin fixation and/or flash freezing.
Director: Praful Gokhale, PhD
Flow Cytometry Core
The Flow Cytometry Core Facility provides sterile sorting and analysis of samples in support of research at DFCI. The core has 2 high-speed cell sorters, the BD FACSAria II SORP (5laser) and BD FACSAria IIu (3 laser) with up to 17-color detection utilizing multi-laser platforms. Sample populations can be sterile sorted into a variety of tubes or plates. The BD FACSAria II SORP and BD FACSAria IIu are both equipped with the Automated Cell Deposition Unit (ACDU) for sterile single cell sorting into 96, 384 micro titer plates as well as PCR plates.
The core presently has 2 analyzers, the BD LSRFortessa SORP (4laser) and BD LSRII (3laser) with up to 12-color simultaneous detection utilizing multi-laser platforms. The BD LSR II is also equipped with an HTS(high throughput sampler) for analyzing samples directly from 96 well micro titer plates as well as being able to run 5ml tubes.
The Facility staff is available to assist researchers with their sorting and analysis needs. Researchers who would like to utilize the analyzers are trained so that they can analyze their experiments independently. The staff will assist with data acquisition and analysis as well as interpretation. They will also assist in experiment design and implementation as well as troubleshooting. Training sessions are available for researchers.
Senior Director: John Daley
Health Communication Core
The Health Communication Core provides professional creative services to researchers and clinicians from Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and other medical and research institutions. The core provides everything from writing, editing, and graphic design to web site development, high-end print production, and audience research. Evidence-based practices with creative expertise are combined to develop materials and communication strategies that help researchers successfully reach their audience.
The core provides creative expertise in the areas of:
- writing and editing
- visual information and graphic design
- print production
- marketing and promotion
- intervention development
- communication and research testing
Director: Vish Viswanath, PhD
Assistant Director: Catherine Coleman
Leukemia/Lymphoma Xenograft (LLX) Core
Patient-derived xenografts (PDXs), generated by transplanting primary human tumor cells into immune-deficient NSG mice, surmount some of the limitations of traditional in vivo platforms and have been increasingly utilized as tools for preclinical investigation. We have established a repository of PDX models of leukemia and lymphoma, which we have named the Public Repository of Xenografts (PRoXe). The repository encompasses AML, B- and T-ALL, and B- and T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma across a range of cytogenetic- and molecularly-defined subtypes. PRoXe is extensively annotated with patient-level information, including demographics, phase of treatment, prior therapies, tumor immunophenotype, cytogenetics, and molecular diagnostics. PDX lines available for distribution are characterized by immunophenotyping, whole transcriptome sequencing (RNAseq), and targeted exon sequencing of ~300 genes.
The Leukemia/Lymphoma Xenograft Core was established to expand our xenografting efforts and to expedite sample allocation to interested investigators. To browse our PDX models and request lines for use in research, please visit the PRoXe website.
The Core provides expertise in the areas of:
- Distribution of current PDX models to academic and industry investigators
- Expansion and banking of newly developed PDX models
- Collaboration with Dana-Farber investigators to develop PDXs of desired disease subtypes
- Facilitation of small- or large-scale in vivo studies using our PDX models in conjunction with the Experimental Therapeutics Core and the Lurie Family Imaging Center
- Consultation services regarding in vivo study design and use of PDX models in research
Director: Amanda Christie
Faculty Sponsor: David Weinstock, MD
Browse and request models on PRoXe Website
Register for our Core at the LLX Core Website
The Medical Arts Core offers complete services for publications, presentations and advertising including:
- Custom/computer graphics illustrations, design and consulting full productions services, Photoshop training
- Posters productions/brochure printing on best selection of paper, canvas material and backlit poster films
- Lamination, LCD announcements creation and posting, and research-related photography
- iMAC and PC computers
- Posters printer
- LCD electronic announcements TV units
- Backlit Display units
- Digital camera
Photoshop via Medical Arts WebEx is the way to go. Please call us for more information. When using DFCI Medical Arts Core, your Data Files will always be highly secured and strictly confidential.
The Medicinal Chemistry Core collaborates with researchers to accelerate the development of novel therapeutic agents. The Core is comprised of experienced medicinal and synthetic chemists with lab space located in Dana-Farber's Harbor Campus. The labs are fully equipped to perform synthetic organic chemistry on a small to multi-gram scale, with LCMS, reverse phase chromatography, and access to the NMR facilities at Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School.
- Provision of tool compounds for in vitro testing or animal studies: If required compound is not commercially available, the Core can arrange for its custom synthesis.
- Medicinal chemistry consulting/advice: Input for grant applications, literature searching, and assistance with the collection of selectivity, pharmacokinetic, and safety data.
- Drug discovery: For researchers pursuing novel therapeutics, or wishing to develop chemical tools for new targets, the Core can assist with hit identification strategies, HTS analysis, and the optimization of lead molecules. With appropriate funding, the Core can more fully collaborate with researchers, designing and synthesizing compounds, either in its own labs or through a chemistry CRO.
Nathanael Gray, PhD
David Scott, PhD
Microarray Core Facility
The Microarray Core Facility offers Gene Expression Profiling, SNP, miRNA, and CNV analysis using array technologies from Affymetrix. The Microarray Core specializes in processing RNA extracted from Formalin-Fixed Parafin embedded tissue. The core is well integrated into the Genomics core which provides additional next generation sequencing services. In this way your project lands up on the right platform.
Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory
The Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory provides microRNA expression profiling, human cell line identity verification, mutation detection for clinical research studies, and specimen processing for clinical research studies. Consultation on experimental design and assistance with data analysis is also available.
Director: Sigitas Verselis, PhD
Molecular Biology Core Facilities
The Molecular Biology Core Facilities offer a full suite of molecular biology services, including automated DNA sequencing, genotyping, peptide synthesis, protein sequencing, amino acid analysis, BIA core protein ligand assays, and mass spectrometry. DNA sequencing and genotyping services include synthesis and tracking of oligonucleotides, contig building, and publication to appropriate databases. Various mass spectrometry services are also available, including LTQ Orbitrap and 4800 TOF/TOF.
- Automated DNA sequencing, contig construction, genotyping and more.
- Peptide synthesis, conjugation, HPLC purification, modifications (biotin, phosphorylation), and more.
- DNA synthesis, reverse phase purification, modifications, and more.
- Protein sequencing, tryptic mapping and more.
- Mass analysis, tryptic mapping. identification of post
translational modifications and more.
- BIAcore protein ligand assays, DNA ligand assays and more.
Monoclonal Antibody Core
The Monoclonal Antibody Core produces novel monoclonal antibodies for use in basic research, drug discovery, and clinical applications including diagnosis, surrogate markers for disease status, response to therapy, and drug toxicity. Services include cloning and scale-up of immunization antigens to purification of the resulting antibodies. Researchers can choose to have all phases of antibody production conducted by the core or perform particular steps in their own lab.
- Consultation on design of antigens and screening strategies
- Production of vectors and protein with appropriate tags for immunization and screening
- Immunization of animals including mice, rats and hamsters
- Generation of monoclonal antibodies
- Customized screening by WB, ELISA, flow cytometry
- Antibody isotyping, titering, and specificity evaluation
- Small, medium, and large-scale antibody production
- Purification of antibodies
- Antibody productivity assessment
- Cryopreservation and recovery of hybridomas from liquid nitrogen
- Hybridoma banking
- Adaptation of hybridomas to serum-free media
- Mycoplasma testing for hybridomas and other cell lines
Ed Greenfield, PhD
Scientific Advisor: James Decaprio, MD
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Core (EQNMR)
The Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Core, jointly operated by Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber, provides expert support and instrumentation for a broad range of chemical, biochemical, and structural biology research problems. We work with collaborators to design and implement time-efficient and cost-effective NMR approaches to chemical problem solving, biochemical interaction studies, ligand and fragment screening, ligand-target binding studies, metabolomics, and macromolecular structure determination. We are available to provide technical and scientific training in NMR methods as well as hands-on instrument training.
- Standard 1H/13C NMR for chemical analysis (1D/2D)
- Advanced 2D NMR for natural products structure elucidation
- Multi-nuclear NMR analysis (19F, 31P, 15N, other)
- Multiple-sample walk-up automation
- NMR fragment screening and analysis
- Fluorine NMR binding experiments
- Double/triple-labeled protein analysis (3D)
- Validation of ligand binding
- Design of competitive binding screens
- Technical and scientific NMR training
- 500 MHz Avance III Spectrometer with multi-nuclear Smart probe (DFCI)
- 600 MHz Avance II Spectrometer with Prodigy HCN cryoprobe (HMS)
- 700 MHz DDR2 Spectrometer with HCN helium coldprobe (HMS)
- 500 MHz Inova Spectrometer with HCN helium coldprobe (HMS)
- 400 MHz Varian Spectrometer with multi-nuclear OneProbe (HMS)
- Gilson 215 for preparation of samples for screening campaigns (HMS)
Dana-Farber Lab Manager:
John Alberta, PhD
Location: Longwood Center, 3rd floor, Room 3301
RNA Interference (RNAi) Screening Facility
The RNAi Screening Facility provides investigators with access to RNAi reagents and high-throughput screening technology. Lentiviral-based RNAi constructs against the human and mouse genomes are provided by the RNAi Consortium of the Broad Institute, and can be used to transduce a wide range of target cells, including primary and non-dividing cells. The Facility provides reagents, equipment, and technical expertise to design, optimize, and perform cell-based, arrayed lentiviral RNAi screens. Additionally, lentiviral RNAi constructs against individual genes can be requested.
William Hahn, MD, PhD
Anna Schinzel, PhD
Structural Biology Facility
Through collaborations with Dana-Farber and Longwood-area laboratories, the Structural Biology Facility helps solve chemical and structural biology problems in the field of cancer research. The team performs and contributes to mechanism of action studies and structural biology by generating high quality proteins and executing biophysical characterization experiments, binding kinetic and thermodynamic analysis, assay development, and fragment-based or compound library screening. Notably, the team conducts X-ray crystallography for use in a wide variety of studies, including structure-guided drug discovery.
Director: Sirano Dhe-Paganon, PhD
Tumor Imaging Metrics Core
The Tumor Imaging Metrics Core (TIMC) provides standardized, consistent, longitudinal radiological measurements to evaluate therapeutic response for DF/HCC clinical trials. Services include accurate, consistent, and timely analysis of CT, MR, and PET/CT imaging studies. Measurements available include linear (RECIST, WHO, Cheson), volumetric measures for CT or MR scans, and Standardized Uptake Value (SUV) for PET scans. Results of analyses are offered on a password-protected secure web-based report. This core also provides an independent service with verifiable measurement of treatment response for patients enrolled in trials, and serves as a centralized, computerized resource to facilitate efficient internal or external auditing.
- Makes reliable, quantitative, longitudinal measurements (such as linear dimension, RECIST, volume, function, etc.) of lesions from serial MRI, CT, and PET scan images
- Presents results of analyses on a password protected secure web-based report
- Provides an independent service, with verifiable measurement of treatment response for patients enrolled in cancer center trials
- Serves as a centralized, computerized resource to facilitate efficient internal or external auditing
Reliable tracking of changes in lesion size or function is essential for clinical trials that use radiological measurements as surrogate endpoints. The Tumor Metrics Core provides a service for managing these images, making measurements in a routine, reliable, and centralized way, and making results available to investigators efficiently.
The Tumor Metrics Core provides four primary services to DF/HCC investigators:
- Consultation services for image-based protocol and image analysis design
- Image aggregation and management of scans from all DF/HCC institutions
- Image measurement of lesions from scans of patients on clinical trials
- Reporting and database management of radiological data for clinical trials
The Tumor Imaging Metrics Core will maintain a database of longitudinal radiological and clinical data that will link to the Quality Assurance for Clinical Trials (QACT) Core to provide an auditable record of quantitative measurements for clinical trials conducted through the DF/HCC.
Director: Gordon Harris, PhD
Annick Van den Abbeele, MD
Survey and Data Management Core
The Survey and Data Management Core provides efficient, high-quality data collection, management services, and consultation. The core provides expertise and technical support in the areas of development and implementation of data collection protocols from study participants, quality control of data collection processes, and data management. Capabilities include the development and implementation of survey research projects, the development of complex databases, project evaluation, cognitive interviewing, focus groups, in-depth interviews, and other similar processes.
- Database design and data management
- Protocol development and consulting
- Questionnaire design
- Cognitive testing
- On-line survey design and implementation
- Implementation of mail and in-person survey methodologies
- Qualitative data collection and analysis
- Participant tracking
- Data entry
- Data analysis
Director: Wendy London, PhD
Carol Lowenstein, MBA
The Translab is dedicated to supporting clinical research and offers a comprehensive battery of services, leveraging multiple technologies and methods, and can assist with routine processes as well as complex laboratory-developed tests. The Translab places a special emphasis on assay development for use in clinical trials.
Scope of Services
- Cellular assays: proliferation, differentiation, cytotoxicity, apoptosis, CFU ...
- Immunophenotyping (panel development, whole blood, purified cells ...
- RNA- and DNA-based molecular assays: PCR, qPCR, cloning, Southern blot, spectratyping (sorted CD4/CD8) ...
- Immunoassays: standard ELISA, multiplex (LuminexMAGPIX®, MSD, Western blot
- Cell isolation and culture: Ficoll, cell selection, EBV transformation, viral transduction ...
- Process and product development for cell-based therapies (FDA compliant)
Center for Life Science (CLS 3068)
Core Director: Myriam Armant
The facility provides services and resources for investigators looking to accomplish animal research objectives. This includes housing mice and rats, purchasing animals, training researchers regarding proper animal care and use, and monitoring the safety of all personnel with laboratory animal contact in conjunction with Dana-Farber’s Environmental Health and Safety and Occupational Health Services.
Dana-Farber has established an Institutional Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to oversee the Institute’s animal program, facilities, and projects involving the use of animals. The IACUC serves as the approval body for all protocols involving animal research, and assists faculty, students and staff in upholding Dana-Farber’s commitment to providing the finest care and most humane utilization of laboratory animals.
In addition to basic husbandry services, the Vivarium staff provides technical and veterinary services, mouse breeding management and mouse irradiation.
Barbara Smith, DVM, PhD
Heather Manning, MBA