It is clear that the interest from both basic researchers and clinicians in iPSC is growing but it is important to realize that they are not a panacea for all research interests. The generation of iPS cell lines is labor intensive and expensive. In order to optimally exploit the limited capacity of the current facility priority will be assigned to the projects by a steering committee on basis of the following guidelines:
- Are there established protocols operational for the derivative cell type of interest?
- Is there a measureable or quantifiable outcome? For cardiomyocytes and neurons, electrophysiology can provide insights into the disease phenotype but it is important to know what you will try to measure in (diseased) cells in advance.
- Preferably the causative mutation should be known. Please realize that many journals now require genetic rescue of the phenotype to prove that it causes the effect observed in vitro and is not simply the natural differences between lines.
- The researcher requesting the line should have infrastructure and personnel available to take up the project after lines have been generated. Realize that scale-up and production of differentiated cells for experiments is labor intensive and expensive. Dedicated investments are required to successfully use the iPS cell lines.
Informed consent procedures have been approved by the MEC and are in place for collection of primary cells from patients either as surgical waste tissue (anonymized at source: additional individual consent not required for use of waste tissue in research) or skin biopsies/blood collected from patients with specific diseases (anonymized by the clinic at transfer to the culture lab: signed consent is required by the patients donating the tissue for research; patient information brochure and forms available upon request).
Ownership of linesThe LUMC is the owner of the lines produced by the facility although the researchers would be free to use them as they best see fit within collaborations for example. The facility will retain two frozen ampoules for the researcher as back up (i) so that should the lines be lost accidently, they would not have to be regenerated (ii) they would be early passage so that their karyotype is likely to be normal (iii) should the researchers discontinue research for whatever reason, the lines would still be available to the research community. In contrast to the Harvard Core Facility, the LUMC facility would not distribute to 3rd parties after 8 months but could as necessary do this after receiving permission from the researcher.