Your Biology Resource

Your Biology Resource

2 Pages · 2013 · 517 KB · English

Your Biology Resource Volume 8 | No. 16 Contaminated Cell Lines are Bad for Your Health Edward Burnett and Liz Penn, European Collection of Cell Culture (ECACC®

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Your Biology Resource Volume 8 | No. 16 Contaminated Cell Lines are Bad for Your Health Edward Burnett and Liz Penn, European Collection of Cell Culture (ECACC ®) Don Finley, Market Segment Manager, Sigma ® Life Science For many decades cell lines have been fundamentally important tools in many fields of biomedical research, including cancer research. Over previous decades many billions of dollars have been spent, and many advances made in understanding disease etiology and in the development of treatments and cures. However, there is a problem. It is estimated that between 15–20% of the cell lines used worldwide are either cross contaminated or misidentified. 1,2 This means that worldwide many hundreds of millions of dollars spent in the biomedical and healthcare fields may have been wasted in producing false or misleading data. If this statistic is not surprising enough, what may be even more surprising is that the problem of misidentified cell lines has been known for over four decades but is as prevalent as ever. As early as the 1960s Stanley Gartler, using isozyme analysis, showed 18 cell lines of independent origin with the same profile as HeLa, the first immortalized human cell line. 3 Over the last decade literature searches have shown there are still over a thousand citations using cell lines such as Chang liver, Hep-2, and KB which have been known to be HeLa contaminants for decades. 4 There are a number of robust techniques available to identify cross contaminated or misidentified cell lines. For the detection of inter- species cross contamination, DNA barcoding is becoming the method of choice. This utilizes amplification of a mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase gene with a set of universal primers, which recognize conserved sequences of thousands of different species. The DNA sequence in between the primers is not highly conserved across different species, so when the PCR product is sequenced

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