NCI-Designated Cancer Center

Ze'ev Ronai and members of the Cancer Center


San Diego’s three National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Centers—Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, and the Salk Institute—are part of a collaboration known as the San Diego National Cancer Institute Cancer Centers Council (C3). C3 was formed to share distinct core resources to accelerate the understanding and treatment of cancer.

C3 Website

The Cancer Centers Council is a collaborative effort between the three NCI-designated Cancer Centers in the San Diego area (UC San Diego, Salk Institute, and Sanford Burnham Prebys) to leverage their collective talents and resources. The initial core facility-based initiative of the C3 focuses on enhancing inter-institutional sharing of a unique core facility at each Center. Recharge rates in these cores have been negotiated to be the host institutions’ cancer center member internal rate plus 16% indirect cost. This reduced cost access to unique cores, along with enhanced outreach by the cores, provides valuable new technical resources to the C3 members.

Biorepository and Tissue Technology Core in the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center is a developing collection of plasma, serum, RNA stabilized buffy coat, urine, viable tumor samples, and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tumor; with associated clinical information. Urine and blood-derived specimens are available from a wide variety of cancer cases and cancer-free controls. Tumor sample availability is more limited. Samples are collected from consented subjects, and de-identified clinical information on the subjects is available. The initial tumor collection is predominately from breast and gastrointestinal malignancies. The core can provide anonymized samples from the repository, or ongoing sample collection.

Gene Transfer, Targeting and Therapeutics Core (GT3) in the Salk Institute Cancer Center GT3 (formerly called the Viral Vectors core) provides design, consultation and production services for retrovirus (MMLV/MSCV), lentivirus (HIV/EIAV), adeno-associated virus (AAV), adenovirus (Ad5), rabies virus (g-deleted SAD B19) and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) -based viral vector systems. The core offers stocks of DNA shuffled AAV libraries, which allow for selection of novel serotypes with unique transduction properties on cells of interest, as well as non-viral delivery technologies based on mini-intronic plasmid (MIP). In addition, GT3 offers vector titration services, vector purification services, Replication Competent Lentivirus (RCL) testing, and limited custom cloning and vector services. Several advanced instruments are available for use in the core on a charge-back basis, including a NanoSight system for sizing and counting viral particles, a GE AKTA system for protein purification, and an Eppendorf liquid handling system.

The Chemical Library and High-Throughput Screening core in the Sanford Burnham Prebys Cancer Center is also a part of the C3 collaborative agreement. The core includes: the Assay Development facility that supports the development and optimization of robust and sensitive high throughput-ready assays (384 or 1536 well) with a wide variety of readouts; the Chemical Library and High-Throughput Screening facility provides high throughput screening utilizing the core’s focused libraries or broad collections of compounds (>800,000 compounds total) and extensive robotics; and the High Contrast Screening facility develops assays for screening with high-throughput microscopy, and assists with all aspects of screening and analysis, including algorithm development. These cores are part of the integrated chemical biology and drug discovery efforts in Sanford Burnham Prebys’ Prebys Center.