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Sharing Disease-Specific Stem Cell Lines Revolutionised by E...
News, Precision Medicine

Sharing Disease-Specific Stem Cell Lines Revolutionised by EBiSC

Undifferentiated, or “blank,” cells are stem cells. 

This implies they can grow into cells that perform a variety of tasks in various regions of the body. 

Differentiated cells make up the majority of the body’s cells. 

These cells can exclusively perform a single function in a single organ. 

Red blood cells, for example, are intended to transport oxygen through the bloodstream.


Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) may be created from the tissues of people with particular disorders, as well as healthy people, and then utilized to develop specific cell types that researchers can use to conduct studies.

Making disease-specific iPSC lines from start is time-consuming and difficult, thus repurposing cell lines created in previous research is more efficient. 

When researchers exchange iPSC lines, however, the cell lines face the danger of being shared with minimal information about the donor or ethical approval, the source, or other crucial information such as potential genetic disorders. 

It’s possible that cell lines have been tainted.

Furthermore, heterogeneity across cell lines ostensibly of the same origin might hinder study comparability and reproducibility. 

That’s not to mention the time and effort it takes for researchers to handle cell line preservation, quality control, and dissemination. 

These problems are a waste of time and money. 

In 2014, EBiSC, the European Bank for Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, was established as a public-private collaboration to assist solve the problem

What does EBiSC do?

  • EBiSC enables researchers to deposit their cell lines into a single centralized repository, ensuring that they are properly maintained and available to the larger scientific community via a public catalog, together with their associated datasets.
  • EBiSC may also assist in reprogramming, gene editing, and characterization of novel iPSC lines, as well as knowledge and best practices exchange.
  • In the future, EBiSC intends to expand pre-differentiated iPSCs to a wide range of cells, as well as mass manufacturing possibilities.

What does EBiSC have to say about the situation?

“A common use case is when a research project contacts EBiSC to ask if the iPSC lines they’re generating may be deposited into a bank account. EBiSC examines the consent used to collect the original biosamples, collects all information, and then registers them with a unique identifier in the human Pluripotent Stem Cell registry ‘hPSCreg’ to facilitate traceability,” says the organization.

Before depositing iPSC lines, a contract must be signed, and vials must then be delivered to EBiSC for secure storage (the ECACC in the UK is the main distribution centre, with stocks of all deposited iPSC lines, and a mirror bank at Fraunhofer IBMT (project coordinator) in Germany serves as a backup). 

Depositors can simply point other researchers to EBiSC to gain access to their lines.

Explanations of Dr. Bolton

Depositors, according to Dr. Bolton,Interim Head of the European Collection of Authenticated Cell Cultures (ECACC) and EBiSC banking operations, maintain full control of their lines and are free to use and share them as they see fit. 

Customers may rapidly acquire iPSC lines from the donor background of their choice, filtering by age, sex, illness, phenotype, and familial or isogenic controls.

Taking off with both feet

  • The IMI project ADAPTED approached EBiSC to gene-edit four distinct iPSC lines (male and female, with and without Alzheimer’s disease) to create ApoE variations in each (the ApoE gene is linked in the development of Alzheimer’s disease).

Twenty lines were created, banked, quality-controlled, and delivered in total. Collaboration with EBiSC allowed ADAPTED to quickly create the lines, and the streamlined methods and knowledge of EBiSC allowed them to get started right away.The cell lines have been shared globally, earning significant income to help EBiSC and ADAPTED stay afloat.

Explanations of Dr. Andreas Ebneth

  • Both academics and business are interested in and require EBiSC and the follow-on EBiSC2 initiative.
  • “Non-profit and for-profit organisations have distinct third-party duties and licencing requirements,” explains Dr. Andreas Ebneth.(Senior Scientific Director of Janssen Pharmaceutica and EBiSC2 project leader)
  • In order to better understand important challenges and develop a distribution mechanism that works for both types of organisations, participation from private partners has been critical.
  • “For-profit organisations’ expertise and counsel has been essential in identifying forthcoming research areas,” he says.
  • EBiSC disseminates industry standards and tools to the whole scientific community and encourages collaboration in other research projects.

Stem Cell Research Controversy

Adult stem cells are, for the most part, free of ethical concerns. 

However, there has been some debate in recent years over how human embryonic stem cells are acquired. 

The embryo is killed during the collection of embryonic stem cells. 

For those who feel that destroying a fertilised embryo is ethically wrong, this poses ethical issues.

There may be less need for human embryos in research now that iPSCs have been discovered. 

This may assuage the fears of individuals opposed to the use of embryos in medical research.

 Researchers might hypothetically produce a clone of the donor if iPSCs have the ability to grow into a human embryo. 

This raises another ethical question to think about. 

Many nations have previously passed legislation prohibiting human cloning.

Concluding Thoughts

Although stem cell research offers a lot of potential for medical therapies, scientists still have a lot to understand about how stem cells and the specialised cells they create function in the body and their ability to repair. Here’s where you can learn more about clinical translation, the process through which research becomes medicine.


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