, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 1-11

Role of the embryology laboratory in the human embryonic stem cell line derivation process

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With the introduction of regenerative medicine and cell therapy programmes by means of human embryonic stem cells (hESC), several research centres have begun projects of derivation of hESC lines. In some stem cell banks, such as the Andalusian Stem Cell Bank, the law also permits the creation of these cell lines. Therefore, the recovery of cryopreserved embryos, their culture and the subsequent derivation to hESC lines requires a suitable embryology laboratory and specialized and highly qualified staff. Moreover, new techniques, from therapeutic nuclear transfer, need this type of laboratory and staff, too. Several International Associations have drawn up some guidelines for laboratories where embryos are manipulated and they reflect the physical space, the staff and the equipment needed in these kinds of laboratories. Nevertheless, we can see that these guidelines do not distinguish between IVF laboratories and other laboratories that obtain hESC lines, so it would be convenient to make a distinction. Following these guidelines, we have tried to draw up concurrent aspects applicable to areas of embryology within stem cell banks. So, the design and the specific implementation programmes for these areas and other research centres with this area but which do not use IVF techniques is vital to develop embryonic cell lines in optimum conditions for future therapeutic applications, although maybe it is rather premature to standardize this type of research.