The specialized laboratories at the Advanced Technology
Research Facility (ATRF) provide a wide range of scientific expertise and
advanced technologies that support the National Cancer Institute’s mission to accelerate
the translation of research discoveries into new diagnostics and treatments for
people living with cancer and AIDS. The facility is designed to accommodate laboratory
and office space for partners from the government, industry, academia, and the nonprofit
The Protein Expression, Protein Chemistry, and Antibody Characterization Laboratories,
and the Laboratory of Proteomics and Analytical Technologies provide a central location
for research involving protein expression, charaterization, and production; virus
production; DNA construction and cloning; monoclonal antibody production and characterization;
and cell line characterization. Data generated in these labs support the discovery
and validation of biomarkers, development of cancer diagnostics, and methods for
monitoring therapeutics. Fifteen mass spectrometers in a single location support
research to advance the understanding of cellular functions at the proteomic and
The ATRF is one of the few facilities in the world to house all of the most current
DNA sequencing technologies. The Laboratory of Molecular Technology and the Sequencing
Facility house five next-generation sequencers, using technology that has reduced
DNA sequencing time from months to days, or even hours. These sequencers, as well
as traditional Sanger sequencing technologies, are available for evaluating cancer
samples to identify pathways, genes, or gene products that are involved in disease
The data center provides networking, storage, and computational support for the
laboratories and staff of the ATRF, as well as for potential partners working on
site. With the capacity to house as many as 20,000 cores and 20 petabytes of data,
the data center supports sequence analysis, computational chemistry, and molecular
modeling, and will provide multi-tiered resources to accommodate both higher-performance
and increased capacities that can be scaled out as the research dictates.
Two specialized laboratories support research related to HIV and other retroviruses;
cellular functions that may be involved in cancer-related processes; and the development
of nanomaterials to be used in cancer diagnostics and treatments. The scientists
of the Electron Microscopy Laboratory are experts in preparing cultures for imaging
by powerful microscopes that can visualize subcellular activity, bacteria and viruses,
and even a single strand of DNA. The Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory
serves as a national resource and knowledge base for cancer researchers, and facilitates
the development and translation of nanoscale particles and devices for clinical
Development Program provides leading-edge development of monoclonal antibodies,
recombinant proteins, peptide and DNA vaccines, gene therapy products, and other
biological and immunomodulating agents. The program develops and manufactures biopharmaceuticals
for toxicology studies and Phase I and II clinical trials in accordance with Current
Good Manufacturing Practices. With the ability to easily segregate processes and
perform product change-over activities, this program also has the capacity to produce
non-clinical or Phase 0 clinical materials.
On site are the NCI Technology Transfer Center and the SAICFrederick Intellectual
Property office, which work together on matters related to collaboration agreements,
materials and technology transfer, and invention reporting and patents.
The Scientific Library’s satellite office provides access to electronic resources
and offers one-on-one consultations with a librarian.
Data Management Services has a small staff on site to coordinate desktop computer
support, system administration, and programming services. Its full catalog of computer
and statistical services is available to laboratory and office staff at the ATRF.
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The Frederick National Lab is a Federally Funded Research and Development Center operated by SAIC-Frederick for the National Cancer Institute.