Guidelines for the use of cell lines in biomedical research

Br J Cancer. 2014 Sep 9;111(6):1021-46. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2014.166. Epub 2014 Aug 12.


Cell-line misidentification and contamination with microorganisms, such as mycoplasma, together with instability, both genetic and phenotypic, are among the problems that continue to affect cell culture. Many of these problems are avoidable with the necessary foresight, and these Guidelines have been prepared to provide those new to the field and others engaged in teaching and instruction with the information necessary to increase their awareness of the problems and to enable them to deal with them effectively. The Guidelines cover areas such as development, acquisition, authentication, cryopreservation, transfer of cell lines between laboratories, microbial contamination, characterisation, instability and misidentification. Advice is also given on complying with current legal and ethical requirements when deriving cell lines from human and animal tissues, the selection and maintenance of equipment and how to deal with problems that may arise.

Publication types

  • Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomedical Research / ethics
  • Biomedical Research / standards*
  • Cell Line / classification
  • Cell Line / microbiology*
  • Cryopreservation / standards
  • Culture Media / standards
  • Equipment Contamination / prevention & control
  • Equipment and Supplies / standards*
  • Genomic Instability
  • Humans
  • Mycoplasma* / isolation & purification
  • Phenotype
  • Quality Control
  • Safety / standards*
  • Specimen Handling / methods
  • Specimen Handling / standards
  • United Kingdom


  • Culture Media