Newswise — The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has extended its biobanking contract with the Coriell Institute for Medical Research for an additional five years.

The newly awarded $8.6 million funding keeps Coriell in place as the trusted steward of this collection and includes the addition of new innovative products to expand the collection. The NIA Aging Cell Repository was established at Coriell in 1974 and Coriell has continuously managed this unique resource ever since.

“Coriell’s relationship with the NIA is among its oldest and most treasured,” said Nahid Turan, Coriell's Chief Biobanking Officer. “We at Coriell are committed to ensuring the success of this phenomenal collection of aging-related biospecimens, and we are thrilled at the opportunity to continue this important collaboration with NIA.”

The NIA Aging Cell Repository contains a collection of high quality, well characterized human and animal cell line and DNA samples, representing aged human populations, age-related diseases, and animal models of aging and has seen significant changes in the last decade.

One major focus of the collection is now to generate valuable induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines, which can be used to model aging and perform disease in a dish experiments. These stem cells are created from skin or blood cells in the NIA collection, which were reverted into a stem cell state. From there, these cells can be coaxed into becoming nearly any other cell type in the body, including neuronal or nerve cells. Seven of these important iPSC lines have been added to the collection in the last three years, representing age related neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease as well as rare genetic diseases like Progeria and Werner Syndrome.

Late last year, the Repository also added more than 350 new cell lines collected from participants in a long-term study of aging known as The 90+ Study. Participants in this study – all aged 90 years or older – donated their DNA and agreed to answer questions over a period of time to help researchers better understand the lifestyle and biological factors which may contribute to advanced aging.