Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine & Research

The Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine & Research provides core research support for comparative medicine projects both within and outside the MD Anderson research community. If you are interested in information about our resources and capabilities, please visit the Contact Information page.

Anatomical Pathology Services - Clinical Pathology

The primary role of the Clinical and Anatomical Pathology Laboratories is to provide diagnostic and research support including gross and histopathology, hematology, clinical chemistry, parasitology, microbiology, urinalysis and rodent serology for quality assurance purposes. The laboratory provides services that cover a variety of mammalian species in the form of high quality laboratory data that aid in establishing diagnosis of diseases. This information is then used by referring clinicians and investigators for therapeutic, preventive medicine and research purposes.

Biologics and Custom Antisera Production Programs

Our biologics program offers MD Anderson Cancer Center investigators a wide selection of animal blood products for research and diagnostic purposes. Services are also available to other University of Texas and outside investigators. The production of custom polyclonal antisera is routinely carried out in goats or Pasteurella-free rabbits, but rodents and poultry are becoming common host species for these procedures. The adjuvant system, inoculation timing and routes of administration, test bleeds and harvest schedule can be modified in consultation with the investigator. Our personnel are adept at handling a wide variety of immunogens, including compounds of low molecular weight, human-derived antigens and infectious agents.

Clinical and Research Support Capabilities

The clinical pathology laboratory is a validated fully Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) compliant facility. It has been inspected by the FDA and is frequently audited by outside study sponsors. All laboratory services are under the supervision of a board-certified veterinary clinical pathologist.

The laboratory provides traditional laboratory services in the areas of hematology, coagulation, clinical chemistry, microbiology, serology and parasitology. The support staff consists of seven medical professionals: five medical technologists [four of whom are certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP)], and two animal resources technologists (AALAS LATG-certified) that support tissue and biological fluids collection and banking.

Flow Cytometry

The flow cytometry facility contains two instruments:

  1. A Becton Dickinson FACSCalibur multi-purpose flow cytometer, equipped with CellQuest Pro data acquisition and analysis software that contains a 488-nm, argon-ion laser and a 635-nm red diode laser.
  2. A Becton Dickinson FACSArray Bioanalyzer System equipped with a 532-nm green diode laser and a 635-nm red diode laser.

Currently, these instruments support multiple applications including immunophenotyping, intracellular cytokine staining, cytometric bead array and apoptosis assays.

Tissue Culture

The laboratory contains a room dedicated to tissue culture equipped with a Nu-Aire, Class II, Type A2 Biological Safety Cabinet, two incubators and a refrigerator. This room is frequently used to process peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), initiate primary cell cultures and maintain existing cell lines.

Diagnostic Radioimmunoassay

A Wallac 1470 Wizard Gamma Counter and a Wallac 1409 Liquid Scintillation Counter are available for diagnostic radioimmunoassays (e.g., blood levels of vitamin B12 and folate).

Molecular Diagnostics

Equipment and reagents are maintained to perform basic molecular biology techniques, such as nucleic acid extraction, PCR and gel electrophoresis.

Surgical and Radiological Services

We maintain a fully equipped surgical suite and diagnostic radiology unit. The surgical suite, which consists of a minor surgery and post-operative recovery room, a scrub room and a major surgery room, is used by clinical veterinarians to provide surgical care required for clinical cases in the resident animal population and for investigations requiring surgical procedures, anesthesia and post-operative care. Paraprofessional veterinary technicians provide technical support for all major and minor surgical procedures. The fully equipped diagnostic radiology unit supports diagnostic needs of our resident animal population and provides radiological procedures involving clinical disease in the production colonies, routine preventive medical surveillance and establishing normal radiographic anatomy in case of disease or developmental abnormalities. Clinical veterinarians and paraprofessional veterinary technicians schedule and supervise the taking and developing of all radiographs.