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Frequently Asked Questions For customers


How do I find a particular EBiSC cell line?

EBiSC has a catalogue of cell lines available at https://cells.ebisc.org. This contains a complete list of cell lines that can be filtered by name, disease, primary cell type or donor sex. This creates a short list of cell lines that match your specified criteria. A detailed worked example of how to search for cell lines was presented at ISSCR 2016 and is available as a PDF.

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What Quality Control is performed on the cell lines?

All cell line batches are subjected to a standard set of quality control assays and only lines which pass are released for sale. These tests include:

Any additional characterisation data available for a particular cell line will also be displayed on the EBiSC catalogue, for example see the cell line page for UKKi007-B.

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What characterisation data come with the cell lines?

Each cell line batch has a Certificate of Analysis that can be downloaded from each cell line page on the ECACC website. This contains details from our cell line characterisation and quality control results. It also contains the passage number, culture conditions and any cell line specific information about morphology and growth patterns. Please see an example Certificate of Analysis.

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How should I culture the cells?

EBiSC has simplified the feeder-free culture conditions of the iPSC lines it provides. Each cell line can be cultured using one of a core set of defined media/matrix combinations. The conditions recommended for your chosen cell line vials(s) are detailed in the Certificate of Analysis that accompany the cells. Instructions on the different culture protocols can be found in the EBiSC Protocol for Culture of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells document. This covers all the different media/matrix combinations.

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How should I thaw the cells?

Cells are typically thawed into 1 to 2 well(s) of a 6 well plate coated with the appropriate matrix. You must check the Certificate of Analysis for cell line specific guidance. General thawing and culture instructions can be found in the EBiSC Protocol for Culture of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, available on the website.

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How are cell lines cryopreserved?

All lines are cryopreserved in DMSO based cryoprotectant. Please refer to your Certificate of Analysis for cell line batch specific details. Please see an example Certificate of Analysis here.

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How many cells are contained in each vial?

EBiSC iPS cell lines are typically cryopreserved with between 1 and 2 million cells per vial.

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What does a vial of cells cost?

The basic tariff price for EBiSC iPS cell lines is £700 per vial. This facilitates the not-for-profit operations of the Bank, including maintenance of facilities and the expansion of newly reprogrammed and/or gene edited lines.

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How do I purchase a cell line?

For a full description please download the tutorial PDF.

When you have selected one or more lines listed in the EBiSC catalogue, and reviewed the specific Cell Line Information Pack that accompanies each, you can use the purchase buttons located on the cell line page to be taken to the ECACC website to purchase the line. If you are new to EBiSC, you will be asked to register as a new ECACC user. Upon placing your order, you will be sent an EBiSC Access & Use Agreement (AUA; see an example Access & Use Agreement here), EBiSC consent template, Patient information sheet, and Cell Line Information Pack (see an example CLIP here). The AUA and CLIP must be completed by your organisation and submitted to ECACC along with appropriate payment prior to shipment of the cells. For further information on purchase related questions please contact culturecollections@phe.gov.uk.

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For all IPSC lines been deposited into EBiSC, a review has been carried out to ensure that at the point of primary tissue procurement, consent was obtained in line with EBiSC requirements. EBiSC has developed its own documents which, when used by the procuring organisation can greatly simplify the process (document download). These have gained a positive ethics opinion for procurement linked to Roslin Cell Sciences and users wishing to do their own procurement using these forms would need to submit their own ethics application.

Where contributors have used their own consent documents, these will have been reviewed to ensure that following aspects are covered:

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How will the cell lines be shipped?

The standard shipment method for less than 20 vials within Europe will be on dry ice. Alternative preferences such as use of a Dry Shipper can be discussed with ECACC at the point of purchase.

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How much does shipping cost?

Standard shipping costs for frozen lines start from just £35. For details on shipping costs please refer to the ECACC delivery charges page. For further information on purchase related issues please contact culturecollections@phe.gov.uk.

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How are the EBiSC cell lines named?

The EBiSC cell lines are named in collaboration with hPSCreg, the human Pluripotent Stem Cell Registry. The hPSCreg catalogue uses a systematic naming scheme which identifies the depositor and the fact the line is an iPSC. The name indicates:

For example, the first line from the first donor from the Universitätsklinik Bonn is UKBi001-A.

Some line names may have a final number appended to them to indicate a sub-clone, such as might be generated via gene editing a line. The first gene edited isogenic control of this line denoted as UKBi001-A-1. If more than 999 cell lines are registered from a single depositor, an alphanumeric system is incorporated, e.g. UKBi00A-A.

For more information on cell line nomenclature please visit the hPSCreg website.

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When I obtain an EBiSC cell line, do I become the owner of the material?

No. The depositor remains the owner of the cell line. You as a user are granted a right to use the banked material for research purposes. The ‘research use’ permitted by the EBiSC Access & Use Agreement includes research involving development of products as well as steps involved in making them fit for commercial market, including procedures for protection of intellectual property (e.g. filing for patents) related to novel IP generated during the course of the work. One exception to ‘research use’ is that a User may not conduct research activities under contract to third parties external to its organisation. To use EBiSC cell lines to provide ‘fee for service’ research activities (drug screening, for example) a User would be required to obtain the approval of, or enter into separate legal arrangements with, the Depositor of the cell line. Users must also adhere to any Third Party Obligations as outlined in the Cell Line Information Pack received with the EBiSC Access & Use Agreement.

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The ownership of the material which results from a gene editing experiment is determined by a number of factors. Where the changes to the cell line result in a substance that is significantly different from the original banked material it is considered a ‘derivative’, which you would own. Such a substance might be i. derived from, ii. a modification of, iii. a product of the use of, or iv. wholly or partially incorporate, the original cell line. Any Third Party Obligations originating from production of the original parental iPSC line are still applicable to sub-clone derivatives.

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Can for-profit organisations purchase and use EBiSC lines in research, which aims to develop products that can be sold on the commercial market.

EBiSC encourages commercial organisations to utilise EBiSC cell lines in the conduct of research, both basic and developmental. The ‘research use’ permitted by the EBiSC Access & Use Agreement includes research involving development of products as well as steps involved in making them fit for commercial market, including procedures for protection of intellectual property (e.g. filing for patents) related to novel IP generated during the course of the work. One exception to ‘research use’ is that a User may not conduct research activities under contract to third parties external to its organisation. To use EBiSC cell lines to provide ‘fee for service’ research activities (drug screening, for example) a User would be required to obtain the approval of, or enter into separate legal arrangements with, the Depositor of the cell line.

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What restrictions are there on the use of EBiSC cell lines?

One of EBiSC’s main goals is to increase the accessibility of quality iPS cell lines to researchers and promote their use in disease modelling and other forms of biomedical research. The use of EBiSC cell lines is however bounded by certain parameters that users should be aware of:

i. Research use only. At present, all cell lines in the EBiSC catalogue are ‘research grade’, not ‘clinical grade’, and are thus for research use only. Uses of EBiSC lines in clinical procedures, or for the purpose of human reproductive cloning, are prohibited.

ii. No ‘fee for service’ research activities. The ‘research use’ definition adopted by EBiSC permits public and private sector research, but doesn’t include research activities if they are carried out under commercial contract to third parties. Fee for service activities might include, for example, iPS cell differentiation into a specific cell or tissue type to enable a researcher to run drug screening assays. Users wishing to conduct fee for service contract work or otherwise carry out direct exploitation of EBiSC cells should contact the Depositor of the cell line to negotiate a commercial agreement.

iii. Local law and regulations. Depending on the legal jurisdiction in which research is conducted, local laws and regulations may impose on research different and potentially more restrictive norms of conduct than are anticipated by EBiSC policies. Users should inform themselves therefore, before ordering EBiSC cell lines, about any applicable rules or informal guidance that might define or limit the use of such cell lines in the intended place of use.

iv. Obligations of the Depositor to third parties. EBiSC discourages Depositors from imposing their own criteria for use of cell lines that they deposit voluntarily with the Bank, but is realistic about the fact that Depositors may be legally bound to third parties, such as patent or other rights holders, to pass on certain obligations to the User. EBiSC passes on to the User information about these obligations provided by the Depositor (such as a requirement to contact the rights holder, or enter into a new licence to use the cell lines) before an EBiSC AUA is entered into.

v. Respect for donor-imposed restrictions. Third party obligations would include any constraints on the use of cell lines defined by the donor of original tissue from which the iPS cells originate. As far as possible, EBiSC cell lines will be supported by the consent of the primary tissue donor to all types of iPSC research anticipated for EBiSC Users. In some cases, however, cell lines will be of sufficient research interest to be placed in the catalogue despite limitations imposed by the donor such as a specification of academic use, or research in a specific disease category. In these instances, the User will be made aware of the donor’s wishes, and take sole responsibility for respecting them.

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What does ‘Restricted Distribution’ mean?

The vast majority of EBiSC lines can be accessed directly from ECACC. However, a small number of lines have restrictions on their distribution meaning that they are not stored at ECACC and ECACC cannot oversee the cell line purchase. Instead, you will be directed towards a different institution to request access for the lines. In this instance, the EBiSC Access and use agreement is not applicable and terms of use should be discussed directly with the host institute.

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What is hPSCreg?

www.hPSCreg.eu is the human Pluripotent Stem Cell Registry, a database for pluripotent stem cells (embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells). hPSCreg collects and publicly releases information about stem cell lines from the groups who derive them. The database is hosted and maintained by the Charité Medical University, Berlin. All EBiSC cell lines are registered on hPSCreg. For more information please refer to the hPSCreg about pages.

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