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Frequently Asked Questions - For Depositors


How do I deposit an iPSC line into EBiSC?

Deposition of induced Pluripotent Stem Cell line(s) into EBiSC is a four-step process. See For depositors for more details. EBiSC has a dedicated BioSample Acquisition team to help collate the required information and guide you through the process. Please email deposit@ebisc.org with any queries.

1) First, you need to provide initial information on the cell lines to be deposited, the background of the donor(s), the original bio-specimens and what consent was obtained. This can be done using our Depositor Initial Application form.

2) We will ask you to share copies of the template Participant Information Sheet and Consent Form with us which were used during sample collection. These must be anonymized or coded (pseudonymized).

3) We will then collect information from you on cell line derivation, culture and characterisation. This must be entered at hPSCreg.eu. At the time of registration in hPSCreg a standard name will be generated, which serves as a unique identifier.

4) We will then complete the EBiSC Material Deposit Agreement with you (EMDA) to allow us to distribute your cells for you.

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What are the benefits of depositing my cells with EBiSC?

Deposition of iPSC lines into EBiSC has a range of benefits, these include:

  • Making valuable research tools available to the wider scientific community in a standardised and sustainable way
  • Increase visibility of your project and corresponding iPSC lines
  • EBiSC provides backup storage for your lines. If your cryo-freezers fail or your locally held stocks become contaminated, you will have opportunities to request samples of your lines to be returned to your lab, with only the shipping to pay.
  • Cell line characterisation and Quality Control data will be generated on the lines and provided back to you as a depositor
  • Avoiding future costs associated with maintenance and distribution of valuable cell lines. The Bank saves you time by responding to researchers who request samples of your cell lines. Once the lines have been deposited you can simply direct interested researchers to EBiSC who will manage requests for those lines on your behalf.
  • Eliminating the risk of loss of track of the lines and/or of sustainability of banking and data management.
  • Make your data open by registering the lines
  • Reducing the time spent negotiating legal agreement with third parties to share your cell lines.
  • Satisfying the requirements of funding bodies and journals to share cell lines after publication
  • Remaining the owner of the lines and referral point for potential future collaborators via EBiSC contacts
  • Access to a scientific network of excellence
  • Access to other iPSC lines at reduced cost

The benefits for a consortium creating cell lines:

  • EBiSC can provide a consortium with a future proofed strategy for the maintenance and distribution of the cell lines. This will not only save your consortium money, but will be seen positively by prospective research funding councils.

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Can EBiSC perform iPSC banking and Quality Control for me?

Yes, EBiSC has extensive experience in expansion, banking and Quality Control of hiPSC lines derived across a multitude of primary material, reprogramming methods, media, matrices and diseases. EBiSC is happy to act as a non-profit intermediary between yourself as a customer and the relevant teams. Please contact us if you would like EBiSC to connect you with a relevant team to perform iPSC banking and/or QC as a fee-for-service activity.

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If I deposit cells with EBiSC, how does this affect my ownership of them?

If you deposit iPSC line(s) into EBiSC, your institution remains the owner of the line(s) and users are given the right to use the line for research.

If an end user wishes to commercially exploit EBiSC lines, it is the responsibility of the User to contact the Depositor directly to determine whether express permission or agreement in support of the commercial activity is required. These requirements are clearly highlighted in the agreements that purchasers have to sign before lines are distributed to them.

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If I change my mind, can I have my cell lines and associated information returned to me?

Any original iPSC material that has been deposited with EBiSC, but not wholly consumed in the qualification process, may be returned to the Depositor upon request. You may also request the return of any unconsumed primary tissue samples from which the iPSC lines were made if EBiSC partners have been involved in the reprogramming process.+

However, once the iPSC lines are qualified and made available in the EBiSC catalogue they, and any original data required to describe the cell lines, cannot be returned to the Depositor.

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Once I have deposited cells with EBiSC, am I prevented from sharing these lines directly with others?

No. Your agreement to let EBiSC bank and distribute your cell lines does not limit your own ability to share the cell lines with others. EBiSC does encourage Depositors to support the mutual aim of the EBiSC project, which is to act as a hub for dissemination of quality-controlled cells to researchers worldwide.

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Is deposition of cells with EBiSC a free process?

Yes. If EBiSC agrees to deposit your cells then you will not be asked to pay for this process.

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Do I have to be an EBiSC project partner to deposit cells with EBiSC?

No. Anyone can apply to have lines deposited with EBiSC.

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What information will I need to provide before lines can be deposited?

EBiSC must be able to trace the terms of consent given by the individual who voluntarily donated a tissue sample for derivation of the iPS cell line. You will need to provide an anonymised copy of the consent form together with the accompanying Participant Information Sheet. The consent must:

  • not prevent the generation of iPS cell lines
  • permit research use by academic and commercial entities
  • enable international sharing of lines and derivatives
  • permit genetic analyses (eg. DNA sequencing)
  • permit EBiSC retention of iPSC lines and associated data upon subsequent withdrawal of donor consent.

Where the consent paperwork is acceptable, you will be asked to upload data such as the age, sex and if applicable disease of the donor and the passage number, reprogramming technology and media requirements to the hPSCreg website.

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What characterisation data do I need to deposit my iPSC line(s) into EBiSC?

EBiSC aims to share as much data on EBiSC lines as possible so that users can be fully informed when selecting iPSC lines for their research. Additional characterisation will be performed on each line by EBiSC, as part of standard Quality Control procedures.

As a minimum, we require depositors to share the following cell line characterisation data with us, so that we can confirm the provenance of each line:

  • A negative result for HIV1, HIV2, HBV and HCV, either screening the original primary material or the iPSC line(s).
  • A negative result for Mycoplasma
  • A negative sterility result screening for bacterial, fungal and yeast contaminants
  • Confirmed cell line identity relative to the original fibroblasts or PBMCs (or other). STR or SNP arrays are the most common method for this.
  • Viability
  • Morphology – images of the line
  • Phenotype – Marker expression typical of a human pluripotent stem cell line by flow cytometry or immunostaining.
  • For iPSC lines derived from individuals known to be carrying disease associated genetic variants, please share data confirming the presence of this genotype.

If available, please also share the following datapoints with EBiSC:

  • Proof of trilineage differentiation, such as spontaneous differentiation and subsequent analysis of germ layer markers
  • Genomic stability data such as G-Banding, SNP arrays, aCGH or similar
  • Karyology, such that the karyotype of the sample material and the resultant iPSC match using as G-Banding, SNP arrays, aCGH or similar

Additional background information on the donor (such as sex and age at biopsy), reprogramming method and culture technique must also be shared to EBiSC.

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Can I assume that EBiSC will accept all and any of the lines I wish to deposit?

No, deposit is subject to EBiSC approval of each line you wish to deposit into the Bank. The EBiSC catalogue will be selectively developed according to the needs of the research community and resources of the Bank to characterise and curate them.

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What does the Bank do with cell lines that I deposit?

After review and approval of the consent obtained at tissue procurement, completion of an EBiSC Material Deposit Agreement (EMDA), and collection of cell line characterisation data into the hPSCreg portal, a number of vials (3-5) can be shipped to one of our Central Facilities either in Germany or the UK. The Bank may then further characterise and expand the cell line, and cryopreserve 30-50 vials for storage and distribution. The European Collection of Authenticated Cell Cultures (ECACC) in the UK will distribute vials to users, and all deposited lines are stored long-term at the ‘mirror bank’ established by the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT) in Sulzbach, Germany, in a secure storage facility.

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If more than one entity has been involved in the generation of cell lines that are ultimately deposited in the Bank, does it matter which party deposits them? Is there any financial benefit to being the designated Depositor?

It is the responsibility of the entities involved in tissue collection, cell line generation and manipulation to agree who ‘owns’ the cell line and will deposit the lines with EBiSC. Depending on investments of time, expertise and funds the Depositor may be the organisation that carried out the reprogramming to create the iPSC line, the party conducting further work such as gene editing to generate a variant of the line, the party who collected the original tissue sample from which the iPSC line was derived or perhaps a third party who has commissioned one of the others to undertake such work.

Deposition of cell lines into the EBiSC catalogue is a voluntary contribution which does not carry any explicit financial or commercial advantage. If a User of an EBiSC line should foresee commercial activity involving a banked cell line, i.e. activities that fall outside the scope of ‘research use’ as defined in the EBiSC Access & Use Agreement, then the User would have all the necessary information to contact a Depositor to obtain permission or licensing arrangements in order to support any such activity.

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As the Depositor, can I restrict or control the purposes for which my cell lines are used?

No. If however, you have an obligation to a third party that cannot be waived, or one that requires that it be passed on to the end user of the cell line, then this ‘Third Party Obligation’ must be identified clearly in the EBiSC Access & Use Agreement. ‘TPO’s would include, for example, ‘reach through’ intellectual property rights of a patent holder, or the limitations imposed by a tissue donor regarding use of their samples in a specific field of research.

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