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WiCell and UK Stem Cell Bank aim to reduce costs for researchers through mutual exchange of stem cell lines
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author


MADISON, Wis. & HERTFORDSHIRE, England—The UK Stem Cell Bank (UKSCB) and WiCell have announced what they call 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 is intended to 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 (at, 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.

SOURCE: WiCell news release
Code: E06181499



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