The European Collection of Authenticated Cell Cultures (ECACC), operated by Public Health England, is a member of the consortium responsible for the newly established European Bank for induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (EBiSC). First pioneered in 2006, human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology makes it possible to study some diseases more effectively under laboratory conditions. Blood or skin samples from people with, for example, neurodegenerative illness or heart disease, can be used to produce iPSCs by introducing four genes usually expressed in stem cells. Brain, heart and other types of cells can then be produced in the laboratory from the stem cells and used to determine what is going wrong in the equivalent cells in the patient.
EBiSC has publically launched its on-line catalogue of iPSCs which are available to academic and commercial scientists for use in disease modelling and other forms of pre-clinical research. The initial collection of over 80 iPSCs available from the catalogue was generated from a wide range of donors representing either specific disease backgrounds or healthy control donors. All the EBiSC cell lines are available to order direct through our website. The catalogue was created by the EBiSC consortium - a public-private partnership project supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), consisting of, in addition to ECACC, a further 26 organisations, comprising pharmaceutical companies who are members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), small & medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and academic institutions.
iPS cell technology is expected to lead to fewer experimental animals being needed in future disease modelling research and the avoidance of interspecies differences. EBiSC has been established to build a robust, reliable supply chain for iPS cell lines, including the generation of disease specific, control and gene edited cell lines through standardised, quality controlled cell line expansion and internationally recognised processes for banking and worldwide distribution. A single user agreement also simplifies the material transfer process both for depositors and customers, ensuring that ownership of deposited lines remains with the depositor.
Dr Bryan Bolton, Deputy Head of PHE’s Culture Collections which include ECACC, stated “EBiSC provides important biological resources to support research that will help reduce the burden of diseases of public health importance. The launch of the on-line catalogue is a key step in making the stem cells available to researchers throughout Europe and beyond.”
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