Newswise — The Global Biological Standards Institute (GBSI) today announced the winner of its #authenticate video competition to promote cell authentication in biomedical research is Michael Ge, from West Covina, California. A Computer Science concentrator at Harvard University, Ge's 1.5-minute animated video amusingly illustrates the importance of cell authentication to research, suggesting a simple solution: the consistent use of an accurate and inexpensive test such as the short-tandem repeat (STR) analysis. The video will be a featured tool of the #authenticate campaign’s social media component that targets biomedical scientists, especially students and other trainees.
“It’s a clever approach to reaching biomedical researchers with this important message—especially those of the younger generation,” says Leonard Freedman, Ph.D., president of GBSI. “It’s going to take a culture shift to achieve systematic cell line authentication and increase reproducibility in research, and it’s this emerging generation of scientists who will influence future attitudes, methodology and practices of the research community.”
GBSI conducted the video competition as part of its #authenticate campaign, which is designed to raise awareness in the life science community about the powerful role cell authentication can play in improving research reproducibility and fidelity. A common contributor to lack of reproducibility is the continued and widespread use of misidentified or contaminated cell lines, which has been reported to range from 15 percent to 36 percent.
“Misidentified cell lines can have serious consequences, including the loss of time and research, but more importantly a delay in the discovery of life-saving drugs,” says Freedman. “STR profiling represents a compelling solution at low cost and quick turnaround, but new technologies are needed to allow researchers to authenticate cell lines easily right in their own labs.”
New GBSI Cell Authentication Alliance Takes #authenticate to the Next LevelIn the months since the campaign launched, #authenticate has brought cell line authentication to the forefront of the conversation around high quality preclinical research and data reproducibility.
“The #authenticate Campaign has raised the bar on cell authentication in some very exciting ways, and we’re ready to take it to the next level with the launch this month of a Cell Authentication Alliance,” says Freedman. “The new Alliance will bring together a broader coalition of cell authentication stakeholders that will include leading government and academic institutions that want to be part of creating a new norm in preclinical research—one that demands the highest quality in cell authentication.”Members will include current #authenticate Champions and Sponsors plus additional researchers, academicians, private and government institutions, journals, societies, cell authentication service providers, and others. Goals of the Alliance include:• 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 authenticationInitial priorities Alliance members will take on include: • Journal Editor Roundtable—Working with editors of major journals and other key policy leaders to foster stronger policies that will strengthen researcher adherence to cell authentication. • Mouse Cell Line Authentication Consortium—Collaborating to develop a short tandem repeat (STR) authentication standard for mouse cell lines.• Model Language Requiring Authentication—Leading an effort to develop model language requiring routine cell authentication that funders can include in grant proposals.• Cell Culture and Authentication Survey—Providing data to drive the conversation with survey results published in October 2015 that represented over 400 cell biologists.• Training Tools and Methodologies—Developing a free online training module to improve cell authentication knowledge and skills. • New Techniques for Authentication—Exploring new tools and approaches to accessible authentication to achieve greater compliance among researchers.• Visibility and Action—Serving as a vehicle for spotlighting the important work of members towards making cell authentication the new norm.
GBSI will provide regular updates to the Alliance on progress throughout the research community. For information about the Cell Authentication Alliance and how to join, visit GBSI.org.
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 GBSI.org or Twitter @GBSIorg.