The Facility offers three separate but related services.
1) It provides to internal and external researchers wildtype mice of three different inbred strains of various ages at cost price. At any given time it will therefore be possible to provide sufficient numbers of 12, 18, or 24 months mice for research purposes. Mice will be transported to partner facilities. Alternatively, external researchers can carry out experiments within the MCCA. The latter also applies to commercial private partners that at present have little or no opportunity to carry out experiments with aged mice. The presence and involvement of Brains-on-Line, a private Contract Research Organization that will share the facility, and that currently performs high-end service for commercial partners, demonstrates the rationale of this approach and documents its potential economic value. The breeding of three strains, C57Bl/6, DBA/2 and BALB/c has been initiated in the summer of 2013 and currently these mice are aging and can already be made available to researchers.
2) The Facility will age at cost price cohorts of genetically modified mice that are produced in partner facilities elsewhere. Currently, genetically modified mice are rarely assessed for late-developing phenotypes. Yet, it is highly likely that modification of a gene or a region of the genome can result in a phenotype that becomes prevalent only after 12 or 18 months. Many of these phenotypes, that obviously are highly relevant for aging science, have remained undetected so far. Partner researchers will be able to provide mice or cohorts of mice to the Facility where they will be aged under highly defined conditions, as requested by the researcher. Mice that are included in these aging cohorts will be very carefully monitored and, if requested, experiments or measurements can be performed by local staff. Alternatively, guest researchers can perform their experiments themselves within the MCCA facility. These include access to microdialysis, bioanalysis, pharmacokinetics, electrophysiology, and behavioral studies.
3) The Facility will collect tissues, cells, and other well-annotated and well-documented biological samples from mice of different ages. These samples will be stored in a biobank and will be cryopreserved. External researchers can query the biobank online to assess which samples are available, can request samples to be collected by MCCA staff, or can visit the facility to collect samples themselves. The MCCA staff will start collecting tissues from the three mouse strains C57Bl/6, DBA/2 and BALB/c that are now at intermediate age as of September 2014. At first, samples of 12 and 24 month-old mice will be collected and stored.