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Nardone open letter

Misidentified cell lines

As a call for action to combat the use of misidentified and cross-contaminated cell lines, Dr. Roland Nardone, supported by a panel of cell culture experts, including ECACC, submitted an open letter to Secretary Michael Leavitt of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The letter highlights the grave consequences of the continued failure of many users of cell cultures to take appropriate precautions to verify cell line identity and recommends approaches to end this failure. The recommendations include establishing cell culture practice compliance policies and education initiatives across the research community enforced by grant funding agencies and journals.


Excerpt from the letter, measures proposed to enforce compliance:

'We advocate that all researchers using cell cultures incorporate a specific cell line authentication protocol into their experimental framework, and the first approach virtually ensures compliance:

  • Cell line authentication would be required by granting agencies as a condition for the award of funds; no authentication/no grant.

  • All grant funding bodies would be asked to include in funding contracts the requirement to operate to GCCP, Good Cell Culture Practice, analogous to Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), initiated at the 3rd World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences, Bologna, 29 August – 2 September 1999.

  • Authentication would be required by journals as a condition for acceptance of research articles. If exceptions are made, it should be disclosed.'


View the Nardone Open Letter: Open Letter Regarding the Misidentification and Cross-Contamination of Cell Lines: Significance and Recommendations for Correction