The gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) represents the body's major lymphoid organ, most of which is directly, quickly and safely accessible by endoscopic biopsy. The new Mucosal Immunology Core provides interested researchers with well-characterized tissue samples from gastrointestinal mucosal sites for study. The clinical component involves consultation in study design, recruitment of appropriate patient cohorts identified by the user, and assistance in submission of individualized human subjects protection applications. The laboratory component provides optimized techniques for obtaining fresh and frozen samples from HIV seropositive subjects and seronegative controls.
Site-specific biopsies of esophageal, stomach, duodenal, ileal, colonic and rectal tissue with paired peripheral blood samples can be obtained for investigators, once appropriate approvals have been secured. Single-cell collections, such as mononuclear mucosal preparations for flow cytometry, or immunoglobulin secretions from saliva or rectal mucosa, can be collected on a prospective basis for interested investigators. Other mucosal sites (pharyngeal, pulmonary, vaginal, urinary system) and other patient populations (including women and minorities) will be available through a network of supportive clinicians. Other collections, such as rectal lavage, can be developed/ adapted in collaborative efforts with the user.
The main role of the core is to foster multidisciplinary interactions that will advance AIDS research, and to bridge basic and clinical investigations in the area of HIV-related pathogenesis, treatment strategies and, importantly, vaccine development. The core facilities are available to all UCLA AIDS Institute members, UCLA faculty who are not members but demonstrate an interest consistent with the core's aims, and non-UCLA institutions/individuals (community or university based) who are willing to enter into a collaborative arrangement and whose interest align with those of the core and the AIDS Institute. Because of the time-intensive nature of both the clinical and laboratory aspects of the core services, users are advised that there may be a prioritization of projects.
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