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Research

UK Stem Cell Bank

Background

Funded by the MRC and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the UK Stem Cell Bank was established was established in 2002 to store, characterise and supply ethically-approved, quality-controlled stem cell lines for medical research and treatment, with a focus on human embryonic stem cell lines (hESC).

Located at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), the Bank is an internationally-leading centre of excellence in stem cell banking, accessible to both national and international researchers. As well as hESC lines for fundamental and preclinical research, the Bank also stocks EUTCD-Grade stem cell lines for use as starting materials for the development of cellular therapies in humans.

The UK Stem Cell Bank plays a key role in the governance of UK hESC research. UK legislation requires new hESC lines from all UK derivation centres under licence from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to be deposited in the Bank. The UK governance framework for stem cell research is embodied in the UK Code of Practice for the use of Human Stem Cell Lines. All UK research using hESC lines must comply with this Code of Practice.

An independent "Steering Committee for the UK Stem Cell Bank and for the use of the Stem Cell Lines" oversees operation of the Bank and UK research involving established hESC lines, whether obtained from the Bank or from elsewhere. UK scientists who wish to deposit, use or import embryonic stem cell lines into the UK must apply to this Steering Committee for approval. MRC supported research involving human embryonic stem cells must have approval from the steering committee before work can begin.

Using the Bank

To ensure that research is conducted with high quality, standardised cell sources it is considered best practice to source stem cell lines from the UK Stem Cell Bank wherever possible.

For further details of the UK Stem Cell Bank, its governance, cell lines and other products/services available, relevant policies and guidelines, and engagement with national and international research initiatives, please visit the UK Stem Cell Bank’s website.