The NIH-funded UCLA Center for AIDS Research Mucosal Immunology Core Laboratory (UCLA CFAR MICL) is part of the UCLA AIDS Institute comprising 10 cores providing support to UCLA faculty and other institutional HIV/AIDS researchers. The main intent of this core, Mucosal Immunology Core Laboratory (MICL), is to serve as an accessible and readily available resource for investigators seeking access to clinically-relevant human samples. The UCLA CFAR MICL is comprised of three main components:
The MICL is an active translational core focused on providing freshly acquired or archived samples from investigator-defined study groups. It provides mucosal assays to enable non-MD/MD investigators with the most functionally-relevant samples in support of both their pilot efforts as well as ongoing funded research, without requiring them to go through IRB and regulatory hurdles.
The MICL offers a streamlined process to foster multi-disciplinary interactions for further advances in HIV/AIDS, bridging basic, translational and clinical investigators in the area of HIV-related pathogenesis, treatment strategies and vaccine development. The MICL offers access to
The MICL assists users with patient selection, tissue procurement, sample processing, and assistance in IRB submissions, refinements in hypothesis testing, detecting changes in the local versus systemic immune response and evaluating treatment responses at the tissue level. Especially for investigators without direct access to their own patient populations, the MICL provides users with a coordinated, time-efficient and quality-enforced approach to acquire well-characterized human gut tissue using its core/MICL-specific, IRB-approved consent form.
To date, these projects have included acquiring human tissue/fluid/blood samples in pilot studies and fully-funded clinical research trials of gene/stem cell therapy, nano-medicine approaches, mucosal immunization/tolerance, assessments of increased senescence in HIV-infected, impact of drugs of abuse, viral resistance and body compartmentalization as relates to virus, cells and target drugs.
Though initially established as part of the MICL core, the volunteer registry has proven invaluable in the recruitment of research subjects for all CPR-related studies. The registry was established to actively and rapidly recruit research subjects to clinical trials/studies for the designated cohort requested. The registrants' contact and personal health information are kept in a HIPAA-approved, password-protected database. There are currently over 800 active study registrants. Gender demographics are 80% male and 20% female. Registrant age, racial and ethnic categories span all NIH categories and is especially notable in the number of healthy, HIV-seronegative participants available for study recruitment.
The MICL biorepository has supported more than 75 researchers and collected over 12,000 samples from 1,370 subjects over 2,765 subject encounters. There has been high subject retention (96-100%) and no adverse events in any of these collections. Records of these samples are maintained in a relational database which is linked to clinically relevant details maintaining de-identification for future study. With constant QC/QA/QM review, the MICL ensures that all specimens in the repository are accurately accounted for, have proper IRB approval and are HIPAA compliant. The biorepository has passed all external NIH and FDA-based audits.