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Wednesday, November 20 • 2:50pm - 3:00pm
Lightning Poster Session- Optimizing Off-site Cell Line Repository Curation: Building a Partnership With Sample Storage Experts to Store, Curate and Maintain an Entire Research Site’s Cell Bank

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World-wide, individual cell lines are estimated in the thousands with over 3,400 continuous cell lines available from one repository alone (American Type Culture Collection, ATCC). Large research organizations purchase and accumulate cell lines from ATCC and other world-wide repositories, collaborations, in-house engineering efforts and commercial vendors. As an organization’s cell line inventory grows, so do the challenges of maintaining a quality on-site repository for cell-based scientific research. Primary issues include registration database tools, growing and preparing vials, sample sterility, cell line integrity, ability to find a cell line and easy retrieval. However as modern research companies leverage their best cell culture expertise into basic research and pipeline advancement, few company culturists are available to perform the duties necessary to maintain on-site cell bank repositories. The Research Laboratories of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA (MRL) Boston site was no exception and by 2016 faced multiple on-site repository challenges including an ageing database, cell line search errors, vial distribution, registration and cell line data, low stock identification, stock replenishment, disaster protection, and cell stock quality.  To support the MRL Boston Scientists, an entirely new model was set in place. The new model was built on two pillars: IT support to a new cell line registration database and a qualified, GxP level storage partner with cell banking capabilities. The first step was migration of the old database to a newer database that could engage with the database of Merck’s preferred long-term sample storage partner, Brooks Life Science’s. The newer Merck database, AcBioREG, supported unique sample IDs, thus allowing a “pushable and searchable” identifier between systems, linking the MRL’s AcBioREG cell line registration to physical vials at Brooks Life Sciences. Concurrently, MRL Boston piloted the possibility of using Brook’s BioProcessing Solutions group at RUCDR in NJ to replenish the Boston cell line stocks. Once the pilot cell line replenishment proved successful and database migrations finalized, MRL Boston shipped its on-site 19,000+ vial inventory to Brooks Life Sciences.  Additional IT infrastructure and standardized workflows were defined, permitting MRL Boston scientists cell line search, ordering, and receipt of a cell line vial in 1-2 business days. Brooks Life Sciences coordinates with one half time MRL Boston point of contact, creating a combined repository curation effort complete with low vial notifications, cell banking queue requests, active cell banking, quality testing, and stock redundancy in both Brooks facilities. Presented here, this new model illustrates how research sites or organizations can successfully shift the bulk of repository maintenance from internal scientific staff to an external partner all while ensuring cell line access, sustained inventory, bank quality, and cycle-time expectations.


Carla Alpert

Senior Scientist, Merck
Carla R. Alpert is a cell biologist with 25+ years in the cell culture suite. She still remembers the first cell line she handled, the enigmatic and adorable mouse line Neuro-2a. Since those days, Carla's grown hundreds of human and mammalian cell lines and within her department is... Read More →


Wednesday November 20, 2019 2:50pm - 3:00pm EST
Essex South (3rd Floor) - Westin Copley 10 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116 USA

Attendees (1)