The Laboratory Animal Facility (LAF) is located in an exclusive and specially designed building with over 15,000 sq. ft. area spread over two floors. The first floor houses the rooms for rodents, which are maintained under dark & light cycles and controlled conditions for temperature, humidity, air pressure as per the regulatory requirements with the help of HVAC system. The ground floor houses the service areas (washing, autoclaving and animal feed) and also various laboratories (biochemistry, microbiology, genetic monitoring and histology) and quarantine room.
The Laboratory Animal Facility maintains 10 different basic strains of mice, 1 hybrid strain (B6D2F1) of mice, 10 transgenic mice, 11 knockout mice, and 29 crosses of Tg and knockout mice, one each Nude & SCID mice; one each rat and hamster. Listing of the strains of these animals can be viewed by clicking here- "Strains". Majority of the rodent strains are bred under strictly inbred conditions. The main activity of the Laboratory Animal Facility is to breed, maintain and supply quality rodents to in-house researchers, as per the sanction from the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee (IAEC). The Laboratory Animal Facility is registered with the 'Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals' (CPCSEA) for breeding, trade and conducting experiment on small laboratory animals vide registration no. 65/GO/ReiBiBt/S/1999/CPCSEA dt. March 11, 1999. The registration is renewed by the CPCSEA till March 2022.
All activities of the Animal Facility are carried out as per standard operating procedures (SOPs). The Animal Facility maintains the records of day to day activities as well as breeding, maintenance and experimentation records of the animals as per the statutory requirement of CPCSEA and keeping in mind the future requirement of the NABL accreditation. Only authorized persons are allowed entry in the animal rooms. Prior approved visitors who have not entered any other outside Animal Facility rooms for last 48 hours, are permitted, if it warrants.
A stringent program for clinico-pathology, microbiology, genetic monitoring of the laboratory rodents and animal feed ensures quality control of the animals. Reporting of the QC tests is done in standard formats and QC reports are maintained in the Animal Facility.
For clinico-pathology surveillance, skin/ hair are checked for presence of ecto-parasites. Faecal samples are randomly checked for the presence of endo-parasites by sedimentation method. In addition to sedimentation method, specifically for checking of pinworms infestation, we undertake 'tape test' method on randomly selected mice in all modules of the mice. The weekly sampling schedule is devised such a way that every 12 weeks, representative samples from all the modules are covered under the clinico-pathology. However, the sedimentation and tape tests schedule are maintained a week apart.
Microbiological examination of animal room air, animal feed, water, bedding material, stool samples and animal organs from moribund animals is also carried out whenever required. The weekly sampling schedule is devised such a way that every 12 weeks representative animal from all the strains are covered under the conventional microbiology testing.
Once in every six months i.e. in February and August every year, randomly selected serum samples are screened for rodent pathogens such as E. cuniculi (EC), Hantan Virus (HV), Lactate Dehydrogenase Elevating virus (LDHV), Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus (LCMV), Minute Virus of Mice (MVM), Mycoplasma pulmonis (MP), Pneumonia Virus of Mice (PVM) and Mouse Hepatitis Viurs (MHV) using ELISA-based ready to use kits. In order to include few new rodent pathogens, the list of the rodent pathogens tested by ELISA methods changes every year.
Once in every six months, i.e. in March and September every year, DNA/ RNA samples from randomly selected appropriate tissue samples are screened for fourteen rodent pathogens namely CAR bacilli, Helicobacter bilis, Helicobacter hepaticus, Kilham rat virus, MHV, Murine norovirus, Mycoplasma pulmonis, Pasturella pneumotropica, Pneumocystis carinii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella typhimurium, Sendai virus, Lactate Dehydrgenase Elevating Virus (LDHV), Sendai and Tyzzers organism using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)techniques.
Under the genetic monitoring program, skin grafting and study of biochemical markers for Akp1, Es-1, Es-3, Gpd-1, Gpi-1, Hbb, Idh-1, and Mod- 1 markers are routinely undertaken using cellulose acetate electrophoresis method. Skin grafting tests are conducted in April and October every year. Whereas biochemical markers from randomly selected tissue samples are checked once every six months i.e. in February and August every year.
We also undertake PCR based technique using one each Simple Sequence Length Polymorphism (SSLP) markers from every chromosome as D1Mit21, D2Mit15, D3Mit54, D4Mit53, D5Mit52, D6Mit274, D7Mit77, D8Mit4, D9Mit129, D10Mit10, D11Mit14, D12Mit158, D13Mit3, D14Mit7, D15Mit13, D16Mit4, D17Mit34, D18Mit40 and D19Mit41 for confirmation of the genetic purity of the mice strains. SSLP markers from randomly selected mouse DNA samples are checked once every six months i.e. in May and November every year.
The purity of Nude/SCID/NSG mice breeder as well as experimental animals is routinely checked on the basis of their T- and B- cell profiles using a CD3, CD4, CD8 and CD19 markers by flow cytometry method. Besides, in order to ascertain the immuno-compromised nature of these animals, Animal Facility also randomly checks and track the tumor acceptance in experimental animals of these strains.
All the species of animals are provided with balanced commercially procured animal feed pellets as per the nutritional requirement of each species/ strain. Microbiological quality of the food is routinely checked in-house whereas nutritional quality of the animal feed is checked by sending the samples to outside testing laboratories.
The Laboratory Animal Facility regularly organizes conferences/ workshops with national and international faculty and participants to keep abreast of the latest developments, evolve regulations and disseminate the knowledge and skills to the laboratory animal professionals within the country. Since 2005, the Laboratory Animal Facility has organized six workshops on various aspects of quality control in ACTREC. We also organized an international conference of LASA India in 2015 in ACTREC
Request for animals, quality control services as well as for summer/ short-term trainings may be addressed to:
Dr. Arvind Ingle, MVSc (Path.); Ph.D., DICVP, FNAVS, FIAVP
Officer-in-Charge, Laboratory Animal Facility
Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer
Tata Memorial Centre
Sector 22, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai - 410 210, MS. Tel: 022 - 27405047