ISCI Overview and structure


The International Stem Cell Initiative (ISCI) is a global effort to characterize as many human embryonic stem (hES) cell isolates as possible.  The work has been carried out in two phases; ISCI1 (complete), where cell lines were analyzed for surface antigens by flow cytometry and genes by quantitative PCR, and ISCI2 (ongoing) which will focus on the media for culturing hES cells.

The initiative also afforded the opportunity to collect together comprehensive background information on the individual cell lines such derivation conditions and subsequent maintenance.

hES picture


Drawing on the expertise of 17 laboratories working with hES cells in 11 countries, the first Initiative, ISCI1, focused upon systematically defining key features of these stem cells and establishing whether indeed the different lines established in different do indeed share common features.  The results have now been published in a report appear in Nature Biotechnology, and the data form the basis for the ISCI Human ES Cell Registry.

The Initiative has also laid the groundwork for active interaction and collaboration between the groups working on hES cell biology around the world.  As part of the ISCI1 program, two workshops have been held at the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor Maine, to enable participating groups to meet, discuss the results and plan future Initiatives.


Building on the success of ISCI1, the International Stem Cell Forum has now approved funding for a second Initiative, ISCI2, that will focus upon comparing the performance of different media for the culture of hES cells, and assessing the types of genetic change that accumulate in hES cells upon prolonged passage.  ISCI2 also includes provision for collecting data on new hES cells lines and incorporating these data into the ISCI Registry.

Management Structure

The Scientific Management of the ISCI Program is provided by a Steering Committee, comprising: 

Contact the ISCI team

Administration: Please email Angela Ford

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