All UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center members requiring cell culture or molecular biology-related services, reagents, or supplies in their research use the TCF on a regular basis. During the past 30 years, significant increases in usage were observed in all of the following areas of responsibility:
- Training and technical assistance for researchers who require additional cell culture skills or expertise.
- Expert consultation to researchers with regard to cell culture, media, new techniques, or troubleshooting.
- Quality-controlled media, serum, solutions, and cell cultures for research at a minimum cost.
- Large-scale cell culture capabilities (using bioreactors and other techniques) for researchers requiring large numbers of cells or large volumes of conditioned medium containing cell metabolites, proteins, or monoclonal antibodies from hybridomas.
- Access to an economical, centralized, cell repository for well-characterized, quality-controlled mammalian and other cell types for research. This includes programmed-rate freezing of cells, and the recovery of cells from cryogenic storage as well as long-term liquid nitrogen cryogenic storage of investigators’ cell lines and other research samples.
- Full testing capabilities, including cGMP-level sterility testing methods, screening of cell lines for mycoplasma contamination, endotoxin screening and quantitation, isotyping of monoclonal antibodies, and isolation and identification of bacterial and fungal contaminants in cell culture through a collaboration with the UNC Hospitals bacteriology laboratory.
- On-site access to restriction and modifying enzymes and other molecular biology related research materials from major suppliers at significant discounts. Over 450,000 line item products are currently available from eight major vendors. Over 500 items are in stock on site.
The TCF currently occupies approximately 5,000 square feet of office and laboratory space. A walk-in incubator and walk-in cold storage room are both dedicated to TCF functions. A main administrative area serves as the pick-up area for users to obtain research materials, place orders, or consult with TCF staff.