22 Aug WiCell opens new stem cell bank
Madison, Wis. – Using three cells lines derived from a new reprogramming technique, the WiCell Research Institute is starting its own stem cell bank.
WiCell, a support organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is launching the bank to distribute cell lines beyond the 21 lines eligible for federal funding and distribution through the National Stem Cell Bank.
The WiCell Bank will begin operations by offering three iPS, or induced pluripotent, stem cell lines. The iPS cells, which are genetically reprogrammed from human skin cells to an embryonic state, dwere erived in the laboratory of stem cell researcher Jamie Thomson.
WiCell operates the National Stem Cell Bank, which is unable to offer iPS cells because it is limited to the 21 human embryonic stem cell lines approved for federal funding.
Erik Forsberg, executive director of WiCell, said in a release that the bank is starting with iPS cells because they “represent the next generation of stem cell research.” The cells provide an alternative to using embryos to create pluripotent stem cells, which can develop into any of the more than 200 tissue types in the human body.
Forsberg also wants to bring to the WiCell bank additional cell lines, such as disease model cell lines, from other providers locally and globally.
He said the WiCell bank would follow protocols and quality control standards similar to those developed for the National Stem Cell Bank.
To obtain cells, researchers must complete an agreement ensuring the cells will be used only for non-profit research, and pay a $900 fee for vial transfer cost recovery and for shipping costs. WiCell also will provide technical support for iPS cells, which are more challenging to grow than most human embryonic cell lines.