September 7, 2007
The National Stem Cell Bank has announced that it has received select human embryonic stem cell lines from Novocell, a leading stem cell engineering company based in San Diego. With the addition of the new lines, the National Stem Cell Bank will have on deposit 14 of the 21 cell lines listed on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) federal registry.
The NIH established the country’s first – and so far, only – National Stem Cell Bank at the WiCell Research Institute in Madison in September 2005. Its mission is to obtain, characterize and distribute the 21 human embryonic stem cell lines on the NIH Stem Cell Registry that may be used in federally funded research.
WiCell researchers are working to characterize the cells in the National Stem Cell Bank to support the development of human embryonic stem cells for research and therapeutic applications. The efforts include trying to understand how each cell line behaves under different conditions in the laboratory; testing the cells for animal disease; and assessing their potential to become specific tissues, such as heart, neuronal or insulin-producing islet cells. The results of these studies and tests are made available to the scientific community online.
Owners of NIH-registry stem cell lines around the world have been invited to deposit their cells in the National Stem Cell Bank. Derek Hei, a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher and leader of the National Stem Cell Bank, says having a variety of human embryonic stem cell lines available for study is critical to advancing the seminal field.
“The addition of the Novocell lines to the National Stem Cell Bank is significant,” Hei says, “because it means we will now be able to distribute the Novocell lines to researchers worldwide, while generating significant information and data unique to the Novocell lines that will be publicly available on the NSCB Web site.”
“We are delighted to participate in the development of this very important stem cell resource for all stem cell researchers,” says Alan Lewis, president and CEO of Novocell.
Since its establishment almost two years ago, the National Stem Cell Bank has created a commerce-enabled Web site through which scientists from non-profit and academic institutions anywhere in the world can request the human embryonic stem cell lines deposited in the bank. The site provides research protocols and in-depth information on specific cell lines. The WiCell Web site also offers resources for the public, including teachers and members of the media, to learn about stem cells.
The WiCell Research Institute is dedicated to expanding the frontiers of science and medicine by unlocking the potential of stem cells. As a supporting organization of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WiCell conducts research, supports research at UW-Madison, hosts the National Stem Cell Bank, provides training for scientists, and offers educational outreach programs for K-12 students and the community.
Novocell Inc. is a stem cell engineering company with research operations in San Diego and Athens, Ga., dedicated to creating, delivering, and commercializing cell and drug therapies for diabetes and other chronic diseases. Novocell is the first company to efficiently engineer human embryonic stem cells into definitive endoderm, the gatekeeper cells that differentiate into many other cells, tissues and organs. Novocell has three primary technologies: stem cell engineering, cell encapsulation, and drug discovery.