News

GEMreport - a new web portal for the services of the MCCA transgenic facility – Sept 2017
In the recent years, the MCCA has invested heavily in streamlining of its services. One major step is the launch of a new in-house developed software package, called GEMreport. This web portal allows for the capturing and monitoring of the activities of the transgenic facility. After registering in GEMreport, the customer can request a consultation and is contacted shortly to discuss the details of the project. Once agreed on the conditions, the project is started and its progress can be monitored. Currently, custom-designed software packages are being developed for the other MCCA facilities.

Now available: a protocol and decision guide to generate genetically modified mice – August 2017
Novel technologies have dramatically changed the way genetically modified mice are generated. In a new publication in the book series, Methods in Molecular Biology, MCCA’s Ivo Huijbers provides an up-to-date decision guide on which technique is most suitable for introduction of a particular gene modification the mouse germline. In the same issue, his team provides a detailed protocol for the one-step generation of conditional mouse strains by applying CRISPR/Cas9 in mouse zygotes. Full text articles are available (decision guide & CRISPR conditionals).


A novel oncogenic pathway in invasive lobular breast carcinoma – July 2017 
Invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) is the second most common breast cancer subtype and accounts for 8-14% of all cases. To gain insight into the genes that drive the disease, the group of Jos Jonkers performed an in vivo insertional mutagenesis screen. They identified a number of potential driver genes that were involved in the regulation of actin cytoskeleton. With help of both the MCCA transgenic facility and the MCCA intervention unit, three of the candidate driver genes were validated in new mouse models of ILC. The identification of a new critical pathway in ILC can provide new opportunities for the development of targeted therapies for human ILC. The paper was published in Nature Genetics.

Inspiring workshop on Innovative Mouse Models – June 2017 
Mid-June the 9th edition of the biennial Workshop on Innovative Mouse Models was held at the LUMC in Leiden, the Netherlands. The meeting was hosted by Sjef Verbeek and co-organized by MCCA’s Jos Jonkers. The workshop focused on new and improved methods and tools to generate genetically modified mouse models, such as high-fidelity Cas9 proteins, cloning-free CRISPR complexes, electroporation of zygotes and long-single stranded DNA molecules to generate targeted transgenes in zygotes directly. The data presented was very compelling and many of the presented tools will likely be adopted by the participants allowing for more efficient and quicker generation of custom-designed mouse models.

An accurate mouse model for lung Squamous Cell Carcinoma – Oct 2016 
Giustina Ferone in the group of Anton Berns has developed a faithful mouse model of human lung squamous cell carcinoma that has the same set of genetic lesions as often seen in tumors of patients with this devastating malignancy. With aid of the MCCA transgenic facility, two new conditional alleles were generated: one for SOX2 and the other for FGFR1. In combination with loss of Cdkn2ab and Pten, Giustina showed that SOX2 but not FGFR1 overexpression in basal cells of the lung is critical for lung squamous cell carcinoma. Her article was published in Cancer Cell.

Critical role for transcription factor, NFIB, in tumor metastasis – July 2016
Two new mouse models for Small Cell Lung Cancer developed at the MCCA transgenic facility in collaboration with the group of Anton Berns at the Netherlands Cancer Institute have uncovered a critical role of the NFIB transcription factor in tumor metastasis. This important finding was published in Cell Reports and mentioned in a preview in Cell and opens avenues for additional research that ultimately could benefit patients suffering from this aggressive cancer.


Tissue of aged mice available to researchers – July 2016
In 2015, the Aging and Phenotyping Facility of MCCA in Groningen started collecting tissues in a systematic  manner from young, middle aged and old mice. Currently, we have 4 or 33 different tissues available, either snap-frozen or embedded in paraffin of C57Bl/6J, BALB/cByJ and DBA/2 mice for interested researchers (see also “Available Mice”). Please contact Dr. Ronald van Os for details at: r.p.van.os@umcg.nl or mcca-coordinator@umcg.nl.

New mouse model platform for invasive lobular breast cancer – June 2016
The team of Jos Jonkers at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in collaboration with the MCCA transgenic facility and the MCCA Mouse Cancer Clinic has developed a technique for creating mouse models for invasive lobular carcinoma ILC that doesn’t require lengthy breeding of transgenic mice. They describe their approach in the journal Genes & Development. Read more in the news article at the www.nki.nl.

GEMM-ESC protocol published in Nature Protocols - Oct 2015
In 2014, the MCCA presented a strategy for rapid analysis of gene function in mouse models, the GEMM-ESC strategy. Now, a protocol is published in Nature Protocols that describes all individual steps in great detail. In addition, the essential materials named in the protocol are deposited at public resources; the GEMM-ESC clones at Infrafrontier and the DNA vectors at Addgene. This unique protocol and resource will likely have a considerably impact on how genetically engineered mice are created in the future.

State-of-the-art mouse imaging - July 2015
Five new imaging devices have been acquired by the MCCA dedicated for in vivo imaging of tumor growth, metastasis formation, and therapy response in mouse models of human cancer. Thesystems available in the imaging unit are small animal versions of similar devices available in the clinic for the purpose of translational research. Please contact Jeffrey Steinberg for details at:J.Steinberg@nki.nl

A new breast cancer mouse model - June 2015
The MCCA and the team of Jos Jonkers at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam developed a new mouse model for metaplastic breast carcinoma and uncovered the mechanism for the intrinsic resistance of these tumors to the PARP-inhibitor Olaparib. The findings, published in PNAS, highlight the power of generating cohorts of chimeric mice with engineered GEMM-ESCs and studying therapy responses in transplanted tumors.

Aged mice available to researchers - Aug 2014
In 2013, we started the breeding of three mouse strains, C57Bl/6, DBA/2 and BALB/c for the purpose of distributing aged mice. Currently, 1.5-year-old mice are available to interested parties. Please contact Dr. Ronald van Os for details at: r.p.van.os@umcg.nl or mcca-coordinator@umcg.nl.

Member of the MouseAGE consortium - May 2014
The MCCA Aging and Phenotyping facility has joined the new COST Consortium: Development of a European network for preclinical testing of interventions in mouse models of age and age-related diseases (MouseAGE), led by Prof. Ilaria Bellantuono of the University of Sheffield, UK. This is a network of scientists, clinicians, industrial partners and regulatory affairs experts from different European countries working on different aspects of preclinical intervention in ageing mouse models and with complementary expertise in imaging, mathematical modeling, pathology, metabolic, endocrine, musculoskeletal, immunity, cognitive function and mouse welfare. This network aims to define the best practice on how preclinical interventions in mouse models should be tested in Europe, with a view to accelerate the translation of any intervention to the clinic for patient benefit.

Launch of NKI GEMM-ESC archive - February 2014
We are proud to announce the launch of the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) GEMM-ESC archive via the Infrafrontier portal. This archive serves as a biobank for validated embryonic stem cells derived from various mouse models of cancer. Currently, the archive contains 16 validated embryonic stem cell clones available for distribution, representing two lung cancer models and a model for mesothelioma. The GEMM-ESC clones can be ordered with and without the Col1a1-frt docking site. Also, two wildtype ESC clones are available on either the C57Bl/6J or FVB/n background. We aim to expand this archive regularly with new GEMM-ESC clones to cover a wide spectrum of oncological malignancies.

Publication of GEMM-ESC approach - January 2014
The MCCA Transgenic facility invested heavily in the development of a new approach for fast and flexible adaptation of existing mouse models. This approach, named GEMM-ESC, was recently published in EMBO Molecular Medicine and will speed up the generation/modification of mouse models, while minimizing the breeding efforts. Experimental cohorts of mice are generated on-demand and ready-to-use. Furthermore, the establishment of an archive of ESCs from various validated mouse models allows for easy distribution and gives researchers worldwide the opportunity to evaluate their favorite genes in the most suitable model.

MCCA receives award for Alternatives for Animal testing - November 2013
The national price “Alternatives for Animal Testing 2013” (Prijs Alternatieven voor Dierproeven 2013) was awarded to four technicians of the MCCA Transgenic facility, Rahmen Bin Ali, Fina van der Ahé, Tanya Vermeeren-Braumuller and Colin Pritchard, for their pioneering work in the routine application of the Non-Surgical Embryo Transfer (NSET). The price was awarded by the minister of economic affairs, Sharon Dijksma, and was made available by the ZonMW program MKMD.

Opening of ERIBA - August 2013
The University of Groningen and the University Medical Center Groningen established the new European Research Institute for the Biology of Ageing (ERIBA). The construction and startup phase have been completed and we will mark this milestone with an official opening. The Minister of Education and Science, Jet Bussemaker, the European Commissioner for Health, Tonio Borg, and the President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Hans Clevers have kindly accepted our invitation to attend this event, and share with us their thoughts on the future of Dutch and European science policy. The opening will take place on November 7 from 2.00 pm onwards, at the ERIBA location in Groningen.

MCCA kick-off meeting - July 2013
The kick-off meeting of the MCCA will take place at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) on Friday 13th September from 9:00 am till 5:00 pm. This meeting, which coincides with the opening of the new animal facility of the NKI, will start off with a scientific symposium – with keynote presentations from Martin Hrabě de Angelis and Dough Hanahan – followed by guided visits to the new animal facility in the afternoon.

Infrafrontier-I3 project launched - January 2013
In January 2013 the EC FP7 funded Infrafrontier-I3 project was launched. The Infrafrontier-I3 project brings together the leading European centers for systemic phenotyping of mouse mutants and the European Mouse Mutant Archive network. The Infafrontier-I3 partners aim to meet the future challenges presented by phenotyping, archiving and disseminating mouse models in the European Research Area (read more).

ERC synergy grant - December 2012
Two lead investigators of the MCCA, Anton Berns and Jos Jonkers, received together with other PI’s from the Netherlands Cancer Institute and the Wellcome Trust Sanger institute a prestigious Synergy Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). The project, named COMBATCANCER, aims to identify novel drug combinations able to overcome resistance across a range of experimental cancer models. They will focus on five main cancer types; breast, colorectal, melanoma, mesothelioma and small-cell lung cancer. The COMBATCANCER project will run for 6 years with a budget of EUR 14.5 million, and will make optimal use of the facilities and technology platforms provided by the MCCA.

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