UMass Human Stem Cell Bank and Registry partners with U.K. Stem Cell Bank
HERTFORDSHIRE, England—The University of Massachusetts Human Stem Cell Bank and Registry and the United Kingdom Stem Cell Bank on March 15 signed an agreement to share best practices for stem cell banking and to collaborate on standards for stem cell line characterization, production and distribution in the United States and U.K.
The agreement calls for the two banks to identify shared priorities and create models that foster collaboration and cooperation. Potential areas of collaboration include the harmonization of standards for cell-line characterization, production and distribution; identification of issues surrounding co-distribution of cell lines for research; and exploration of funding opportunities for joint research projects.
Both banks support international research in regenerative and stem cell medicine by providing the biomedical research community with expertly derived and maintained human embryonic stem cell lines for fundamental biological investigation and therapeutic applications. According to the two banks, their research customers use the stem cell lines for their work on discovering new therapeutic treatments for diseases such as cancer, type 1 diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, among others.
"Both banks share common goals and needs," says Dr. Joseph C. Laning, senior director of the UMass Human Stem Cell Bank and Registry. "Working in concert allows us to develop strategies that will shape stem cell production, characterization, banking and distribution in a dynamic field. Each bank brings its own unique attributes to bear in a way that will enhance our influence in the field."
Dr. Stephen Inglis, director of the U.K. Health Protection Agency's National Institute for Biological Standards and Control, says, "This agreement presents an opportunity to forge a new strategic and innovative link between two leading international stem cell banks. International cooperation is vital in this fast moving field, and we expect that the partnership will accelerate the development of important new therapies as well as keeping the U.K. at the forefront of stem cell research."
The UMass Human Stem Cell Bank and Registry was developed in partnership with and backed by the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, a quasi-public agency charged with implementing the state's 10-year, $1 billion life-sciences initiative.
The U.K. Stem Cell Bank was established to provide a repository of human embryonic and adult stem cell lines as part of the U.K. governance for the use of human embryos for research. Its role is to provide quality controlled and ethically sourced stocks of these cells that researchers worldwide can rely on to facilitate high-quality and standardized research. It is also ready to prepare stocks of "clinical grade" cell lines as seed stocks for the development of therapies. Oversight of the U.K. Stem Cell Bank is provided by an independent steering committee, which provides an ethical framework for stem cell research and the distribution of stem cell lines.