UK Stem Cell Bank

Funded by the MRC and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the UK Stem Cell Bank was established to provide an ethically approved, quality controlled and assured repository of human embryonic, fetal and adult stem cell lines to underpin high quality research and healthcare developments.

Located at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC), resources are available to both national and international researchers.


Jointly funded by the MRC and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the UK Stem Cell Bank was established in 2002 to store, characterise and supply ethically-approved, quality-controlled stem cell lines for medical research and treatment, with a focus on human embryonic stem cell lines (hESC).

The Bank is an internationally-leading centre of excellence in stem cell banking, and actively supports a number of national and international research and training programmes.

As well as hESC lines for fundamental and preclinical research, the Bank also stocks EUTCD-Grade stem cell lines for use as starting materials for the development of cellular therapies in humans.

The UK Stem Cell Bank plays a key role in the governance of UK hESC research. UK legislation requires new hESC lines from all UK derivation centres under licence from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to be deposited in the Bank.

The UK governance framework for stem cell research is embodied in the UK Code of Practice for the use of Human Stem Cell Lines. All UK research using hESC lines must comply with this Code of Practice.

Using the Bank

An independent “Steering Committee for the UK Stem Cell Bank and for the use of Stem Cell Lines” oversees operation of the Bank. Scientists who wish to deposit cell lines within the bank or to use material from the bank must apply to this Steering Committee for approval.

An increasing number of lines are being made available through the UK Stem Cell Bank. It is considered best practice to use the UK Stem Cell Bank where possible, to ensure that researchers are working with high quality, standardised cell sources.

For further details of the UK Stem Cell Bank, its governance, cell lines and other products/services available, relevant policies and guidelines, and engagement with national and international research initiatives, please visit the Bank’s website.