Cell Authentication Alliance



Improving the Quality of Research

Reproducible research is a critical issue facing the life sciences community. An all too common contributor in biomedical research is the widespread use of misidentified or contaminated cell lines, reported to range from 15% to 36%.  STR profiling represents a compelling and low cost solution to this problem.

What is the Cell Authentication Alliance?

The Alliance brings together a diverse set of committed stakeholders with the sole purpose of making routine cell line authentication the new norm.  GBSI will facilitate the work of the Alliance and provide regular updates on progress throughout the research community in achieving these goals:

  • Increased use of cell authentication so that contaminant-free cell lines are used in research
  • Required documentation of cell authentication for publication in journals
  • Improved training for all researchers on best practices for cell authentication
  • Greater investment in new technologies to develop novel tools for cell authentication

The Alliance stakeholders include leading government and academic institutions at the forefront of creating a new norm—one that demands the highest quality in cell authentication.

What led to the Alliance?

Launched in 2015, GBSI’s #authenticate Campaign started the conversation about the need for cell line authentication in high quality preclinical research. The Campaign engaged researchers, funders, journals, societies, industry leaders, and others. Organizations including Susan G. Komen, FasterCures, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation joined the Campaign as Champions. The NIH and other funders are beginning to incorporate cell line authentication into their grant application review process, and Nature and other peer-reviewed journals have expanded their cell authentication recommendations. #authenticate raised the bar and the Alliance takes it to the next level.

Cell Authentication Priorities

  • Journal Editor Roundtable—GBSI will work with the editors of major journals and other key policy leaders to foster stronger policies that will to strengthen researcher adherence to cell authentication.
  • Mouse Cell Line Authentication Consortium—Consortium partners, led by NIST, will convene to develop a Short Tandem Repeat (STR) profiling standard for mouse cell lines.
  • Model Language Requiring Authentication—Working with major disease funders, GBSI will develop model language requiring routine cell authentication that funders can include in grant proposals.
  • Cell Culture and Authentication Survey— Representing over 400 cell biologists, GBSI’s survey results were published in BioTechniques in October 2015 and provide data to drive the conversation.
  • Training Tools and Methodologies—With support from NIH and Susan G. Komen, GBSI is developing a free online training module to improve cell authentication knowledge and skills.
  • New Techniques for Authentication—Alliance members will explore new tools and approaches to accessible authentication to achieve greater compliance among researchers.
  • Visibility and Action—GBSI will keep the work of the Alliance’s diverse stakeholders in the public’s eye through scientific and mainstream press and social media. The Alliance will be a vehicle for spotlighting the important work of its members towards making cell authentication the new norm.