WiCell and UK Stem Cell Bank aim to reduce costs for researchers through mutual exchange of stem cell lines

Posted on June 26, 2014

MADISON, Wis., and HERTFORDSHIRE, England ‐ The UK Stem Cell Bank (UKSCB) and WiCell announce a revolutionary and world‐leading initiative to exchange cell lines so a combined panel of each institution’s most popular cell lines will be available through each center. The plan will ease delivery of human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) lines to researchers around the world and significantly reduce shipping costs for the most widely used cell lines. This joint initiative is the result of UKSCB and WiCell’s established track record of collaboration on best practices for hPSC banking and characterization going back almost a decade.

Cell lines to be exchanged include lines approved by both U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and U.K. national research ethics committees and quality controlled according to international consensus standards (ISCBI, 2009). These lines also are registered on the newly funded hESCreg European database of hPSC lines (www.hescreg.eu), which will promote their use in European Commission‐funded research.

"In this global field, assuring that researchers on different continents have equal access to materials is critical. Until now, maintaining stores of specific cell lines in a single location made the most widely used lines prohibitively expensive for some researchers due to international shipping costs," said Glyn Stacey, director of the UKSCB. "Through our redistribution initiative with WiCell, the most widely used, approved cell lines will be delivered more effectively from both a time and cost perspective, ultimately helping to expedite research in the field."

"Accessibility of cell lines to the scientific community is a challenge we are working on. Qualified cell lines are the cornerstone of research projects, and we are committed to making a broad selection of cell lines readily available. This initiative is intended to dramatically reduce shipment costs for researchers in the U.S. and Europe, increasing their access to high‐quality, well‐characterized vials of these valuable cell lines," said Robert Drape, executive director of WiCell. “We are excited to be working with the UKSCB on this initiative, and will continue to incorporate feedback from the research community to find additional solutions that meet the needs of stem cell scientists."

This collaboration between two of the world’s leading stem cell banks is anticipated to be completed during 2014 with the exchange of lines taking place by the end of the year.

About WiCell

WiCell, a nonprofit organization founded in 1999, is recognized as a world leader in the field of human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. Beginning with its selection to host the U.S. National Stem Cell Bank (from 2005 through 2010), WiCell has continued offering its extensive and unique expertise in the banking, characterization and cytogenetic testing of human pluripotent stem cells to researchers around the world. WiCell’s Stem Cell Bank offerings currently include human pluripotent cell lines (ES, iPS, disease model and modified) as well as differentiated progenitors. WiCell is continually looking to expand offerings and cell line deposits are encouraged. In addition, cytogenetic testing services are available to both academic and commercial groups. This year marks 15 years since WiCell opened its doors – visit www.wicell.org to learn how WiCell's experience can work for you.

About the UKSCB

The UK Stem Cell Bank was established to provide a repository of human embryonic, fetal and adult stem cell lines as part of the U.K. governance for the use of human embryos for research, and is funded by the Medical Research Council and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Its role is to provide quality‐controlled stocks of these cells that researchers worldwide can rely on to facilitate high‐quality and standardized research. It also prepares stocks of EUTCD‐Grade cell lines for use as starting materials for the development cellular therapies. The UKSCB is based at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), which is a global leader in the standardization and control of biological medicines. As part of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, we are world leaders in supporting science and research and the regulation of medicines and medical devices, strengthening the support provided to the U.K.’s medicines industry. Learn more at www.nibsc.org/UK_Stem_Cell_Bank.