The rapidly growing field of mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) basic and translational research requires standardization of terminology and functional characterization. The International Standards Organization's (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) on Biotechnology, working with extensive input from the International Society for Cells and Gene Therapy (ISCT), has recently published ISO standardization documents that are focused on biobanking of MSCs from two tissue sources, Wharton's Jelly, MSC(WJ) and Bone Marrow, MSC(M)), for research and development purposes and development. This manuscript explains the path towards the consensus on the following two documents: the Technical Standard ISO/TS 22859 for MSC(WJ) and the full ISO Standard 24651 for MSC(M) biobanking. The ISO standardization documents are aligned with ISCT's MSC committee position and recommendations on nomenclature because there was active input and incorporation of ISCT MSC committee recommendations in the development of these standards. The ISO standardization documents contain both requirements and recommendations for functional characterization of MSC(WJ) and MSC(M) using a matrix of assays. Importantly, the ISO standardization documents have a carefully defined scope and are meant for research use of culture expanded MSC(WJ) and MSC(M). The ISO standardization documents can be updated in a revision process and will be systematically reviewed after 3-5 years as scientific insights grow. They represent international consensus on MSC identity, definition, and characterization; are rigorous in detailing multivariate characterization of MSCs and represent an evolving-but-important first step in standardization of MSC biobanking and characterization for research use and development.
Keywords: MSC; Wharton's Jelly; biobanking; bone marrow; culture-expanded MSCs; functional characterization; nomenclature; standards.
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