Culture Collections

NCTC: A year in research

During 2016 NCTC bacterial strains and associated data were cited in more than 100 publications by scientists worldwide. We reviewed some of these papers, noting that researchers based at institutes in 52 different countries contributed to this array of studies which reflect the challenges presented to scientists globally in the early 21st century and also important local themes, including some quite unexpected subjects.


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ECACC in research: WGS of ECACC oesophageal cancer cell lines

Each year in the UK around 8,750 people are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer: a type of cancer affecting the oesophagus (gullet).  Mainly affecting people in their 60s and 70s, it is the 13th most common form of cancer. It affects men than women and has become more prevalent in the last 40 years. It is important that researchers have relevant tools to better understand the disease and to develop treatments and cures.

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The glioblastoma U-87 MG does not match its original tumour

The issue of cell line authentication is prevalent and the technologies for analysis have become more advanced, so it is inevitable that some lines that have been considered “authentic” for decades may be revealed as being misidentified. When these situations are uncovered it is of upmost importance that the findings are communicated to laboratories using these cell lines.

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Why Choose Us?

Public Health England (PHE) is the custodian of four unique collections that consist of expertly preserved, authenticated cell lines and microbial strains of known provenance for use in medical science and laboratory healthcare.

All the collections are developed, managed and maintained by highly trained, dedicated staff who work in accordance with internationally recognised quality standards including certification to ISO 9001:2008.

Cultures from the collections are used by scientists who need to reassure themselves and others that the materials they are using are authentic, so the conclusions to their studies are valid and relevant. This is particularly important where research may lead to peer-reviewed publications, for example, in drug discovery and vaccine efficacy studies. Authenticated reference strains are also of paramount importance for clinical diagnostic testing, food, water and environmental microbiology testing and validation studies.

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Cell lines

The European Collection of Authenticated Cell Cultures (ECACC) maintains and supplies over 40,000 cell lines and their derivatives such as DNA, RNA and cDNA.





The National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) maintains and supplies over 5000 bacteria and mycoplasma strains.





The National Collection of Pathogenic Viruses (NCPV) maintains and supplies over 700 viruses and viral nucleic acid.





The National Collection of Pathogenic Fungi (NCPF) maintains and supplies over 4000 fungal strains.


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