The Bragg peak is a pronounced peak on the Bragg curve which plots the energy loss of ionizing radiation during its travel through matter. For protons, α-rays, and other ion rays, the peakoccurs immediately before the particles come to rest.
An additional radiation biology laboratory can be found at the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute (HUPTI). As well as being the largest stand-alone proton therapy treatment facility in the US, boasting 6 treatment rooms which include 4 gantry rooms and one fixed-beam room, one of the rooms is dedicated to research purposes. At the heart of the facility is a 200-ton cyclotron that accelerates protons at two-thirds the speed of light, sending the resulting proton beam down a beam line. Once the proton beam reaches the treatment room, it is prepared for treatment by a 90-ton gantry.
Specifically, the lab currently houses a chemical fume hood, biological safety cabinet (tissue culture hood), CO2 incubator, and other equipment necessary for radiation biological studies. It is here where all biospecimens are processed and stored. The lab also houses cell cultures and a cell culture repository which is used for irradiation studies.
HUPTI is also the site of the Hampton University Registry and Biorepository (The HURB). The HURB houses data on new patients and patients previously treated at HUPTI. Information maintained in the cancer registry includes: demographic information, medical history, diagnostic findings, cancer therapy, follow up details, and quality of life questionnaire data. The data is being used to evaluate patient outcomes, quality of life, provide follow-up information, calculate survival rates, analyze referral pattern, allocate resources at regional or state level, and evaluate efficacy of treatment modalities.
The HURB biorepository collects and also distributes biospecimens from proton therapy patients to support future scientific investigations. Specifically, human biospecimens stored in a biorepository can be used to 1) Identify disease mechanisms, 2) Develop screening tests for “biomarkers” associated with certain sub-types of a disease, 3) Group patients based on their genetic characteristics and likelihood of positive response, for testing of new drugs and treatments, and4) Group patients based on the“biomarkers” of their disease to determine which treatment is appropriate.
The Cancer Research Center Genomics Lab also houses several thermocyclers, waterbaths and heating blocks, vortexers, biological safety cabinet (Biosafety level 2), refrigerated centrifuges, an Eppendorf liquid handling station, 2 incubators, 2 refrigerators, 1 -20°C Freezer, spectrophotometers, microscopes, liquid nitrogen storage tank, and an ultracentrifuge.
Furthermore, given the potential of cancer genomics in the improvement of health and elimination of suffering due to cancer, the HUCRC houses a next-generation sequencer, which has the capability of genetically profiling patients to determine if they have a predisposition to cancer and to profile tumors to determine expression of genes at the mRNA level. In addition, the next generation sequencer has the ability to profile tumors to determine the best course of treatment. The Life technologies Personal Genome Machine (PGM™) System combines semiconductor sequencing technology with natural biochemistry to directly translate chemical information into digital data, democratizing sequencing and making it accessible to virtually any lab or clinic. The system leverages the exponential improvements in the semiconductor industry (known as Moore’s Law) to provide scalability and flexibility for various applications. The system’s use of the simplest, natural sequencing chemistry eliminates the need for expensive optics and reduces complex chemistries to measure natural DNA extension. Direct, real time sequencing detection provides sequencing results typically in less than 3 hours. Remarkably, the HUCRC has the only next-generation sequencer in the Hampton Roads area. For DNA, RNA, and protein analysis, we have obtained the Qubit® 2.0 Fluorometer which quantitates DNA, RNA, and protein with unprecedented accuracy, sensitivity, and simplicity, as well as a 2100 Agilent Bioanalyzer which provides sizing, quantitation and quality control of DNA, RNA, proteins and cells on a single platform, providing high quality digital data. For protein analysis, the lab has obtained a Perkin Elmer microplate reader.
In addition to next generation capabilities, the lab houses a life technologies real-time PCR machine. The Applied Biosystems® QuantStudio™ 7 Flex Real-Time PCR System advances our research further by enabling a broad range of real-time PCR-based applications through its multiplexing capabilities and interchangeable block formats. The QuantStudio™ 7 Flex system accommodates the interchange of a 96-well, 96-well Fast, 384-well, or TaqMan® array card block. Furthermore, the lab houses an eppendorf liquid handling station which will allow automation of protocols such as DNA/RNA isolation and treatment of cells in a 96- and 384-well format, as well as many other applications.
Our lab also provides services such as next generation sequencing, nucleic acid quantitation, gene expression analysis, genotyping, and protein analysis. For a consultation, please contact us here.
The Hampton University Cancer Research Center (HUCRC) is located in the Frank Fountain Building, a state-of-the-art 27,000 square foot Biomedical Research Center on the Hampton University Campus. The HUCRC was founded in July 2013 by Dr. Luisel Ricks-Santi. The HUCRC has aligned its aims and goals with the rigorous requirements of the National Cancer Institute Cancer Center Support Grant.