–#authenticate Fosters a Commitment to Cell Authentication and a More Accurate Scientific Process-
Washington D.C., April 16, 2015—The Global Biological Standards Institute (GBSI) today launched #authenticate, a multi-faceted campaign designed to raise awareness in the life science community about the powerful role cell authentication can play in improving research reproducibility and fidelity. Calling upon experienced and emerging scientists to support cell authentication, this first-of-its-kind campaign looks to mitigate use of misidentified and contaminated cell lines in research that ultimately lead to failed clinical trials, delays and increased costs around the development of therapeutic drugs and life-saving cures.
It has been estimated that $115 billion is spent annually in the United States on life science research.  Approximately half of the total spend is on preclinical research, of which a conservative estimate of 50 percent is not reproducible.  That’s $28 billion each year spent on research that cannot be reproduced.  A common contributor to this lack of reproducibility is the continued and widespread use of misidentified or contaminated cell lines, which has been reported to range from a conservative low of 14.9 percent to a high of 36 percent.
“Now is the time to take action and embrace using cell authentication best practices in research, with an ultimate goal of more credible, reproducible and translatable research,” said Leonard P. Freedman, President of GBSI. “We can no longer tolerate the use of cell lines that have not been authenticated as a normal part of the research process. Cell authentication is a fundamental element of research fidelity.” According to Freedman, an accurate and relatively inexpensive test to authenticate cell lines, called short-tandem repeat (STR) analysis, is available and already in use by some researchers at the cost of $100 to $300.
#authenticate brings cell line authentication to the forefront of the reproducibility dialogue and creates a platform by which members of the life sciences community can collectively advance best practices and an overall cultural shift in how biomedical research is conducted. It rallies stakeholders and key influencers to:
Several organizations have signed on as #authenticate champions in advance of the campaign launch, noting their support for the campaign goals, including the Rare Cancer Research Foundation, the Chordoma Foundation, CellBank Australia, the International Cell Line Authentication Committee, Melanoma Research Alliance, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. “The support of life sciences leaders like these demonstrates that the extended community understands and embraces this important cultural shift in research best practices,” continued Freedman.
To further elevate this important dialogue in a compelling way, GBSI is asking for members of the life science community to sign the #authenticate Pledge. In addition, GBSI is holding a video competition for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other members of the life science research community, with cash prizes for the two best videos. The competition invites the submission of short (less than three minute) videos that answer the question, “Why #authenticate?”
#authenticate also includes other elements designed to foster best practices in research including: educational webinars, model language requiring cell line authentication that can be used in grant applications, and training tools and methodologies modules that improve knowledge and skills of emerging scientists on cell authentication. GBSI also is conducting a survey of cell biologists to gather the most current data on the use of cell authentication tools; the barriers to expanded cell authentication; the need for additional training on the importance of cell authentication; best practices in implementation; and the need for greater investment in new technologies for cell authentication. A report will be produced from this survey and a series of recommendations of how to overcome these barriers will be shared with the life sciences community.
“We must mobilize as a community to seek ways to build a more powerful research process, resulting in increased reproducibility and faster breakthroughs and drug discoveries on behalf of patients who will ultimately benefit from better science,” said Freedman. “Cell line authentication is a relatively simple yet effective best practice the community can rally around to embed as a core part of research design. GBSI is excited about #authenticate and this opportunity for the community to get involved, show support and drive meaningful change.”
About Global Biological Standards Institute
GBSI, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to enhancing the quality of biomedical research by advocating best practices and standards to accelerate the translation of research breakthroughs into life-saving therapies. For more information, visit www.gbsi.org. Twitter @GBSIorg.
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