Find out more about our Cell Culture Bank.

Before applying, please get in touch with us by completing the Initial Enquiry Form. The Cell Team at Barts will get back to you and arrange a time to discuss your requirements.

We are the only breast tissue bank in the UK offering primary cells isolated from human breast tissues. We also provide information and advice to researchers on how to use these cells. In addition to the samples and advice from the Cell Team, applicants will have access to anonymised patient data for the samples provided to enhance their study.

The Cell Team can provide advice on:

  • choice of cells for your studies
  • best practice in culturing different cell types
  • planning experiments and costings for grant applications.
  1. Samples we offer
  2. Recoverable Costs
  3. Frequently Asked Questions

Samples we offer

Standard samples: Derived and stored in liquid nitrogen

Tissue type Samples available as cryopreserved vials
Normal (reduction mammoplasty tissue)

Tissue explants

Passage 1 epithelial cells

Passage 2 and 3 myoepithelial cells

Passage 3 fibroblasts
Prophylactic mastectomy and DCIS tissue

Tissue explants

Passage 3 fibroblasts
Cancer-containing tissue

Cancer-containing tissue

Tissue explants from tumour, surround (>5cm from tumour edge), adjacent (<2cm from tumour edge) and contralateral tissue

Enriched tumour cells*

Passage 3 fibroblasts from tumour tissue

Passage 3 fibroblasts from surround tissue

Passage 3 fibroblasts from adjacent tissue

Passage 3 fibroblasts from contralateral tissue

 

*Enriched tumour cells have limited use due to difficulties in culturing.

Bespoke samples: Depending on size of request may require longer timeframe for samples

Tissue type Samples available as cryopreserved vials
Normal (reduction mammoplasty tissue)

Organoids (ductal/lobular alveolar fraction)

Passage 2 and above epithelial cells

Passage 4 and above myoepithelial cells

Passage 4 and above fibroblasts

Prophylactic mastectomy and DCIS tissue

Epithelial and myoepithelial cells

Passage 4 and above fibroblasts

Cancer-containing tissue

Enriched tumour cells from Lymph Node metastasis

Passage 4 and above fibroblasts from tumour tissue

Passage 4 and above fibroblasts from surround tissue

Passage 4 and above fibroblasts from adjacent tissue

Passage 4 and above fibroblasts from contralateral tissue

Epithelial and myoepithelial cells from surround tissue

Epithelial and myoepithelial cells from adjacent tissue

Epithelial and myoepithelial cells from contralateral tissue

 

Samples are routinely shipped frozen and on dry ice.  

If you are interested in other cell types or preparations from the breast e.g. immune cells, please get in touch and we can discuss the possibility of providing these.

Find out further details on the derivation and growth of fibroblasts, normal epithelial and myoepithelial cells

Applicants often ask for:

  • Normal myoepithelial and epithelial cells together in order to study their relationship, often combining in 3D structures.
  • Normal epithelial, myoepithelial and/or fibroblast cells looking at the possible effects of widely used chemicals and the possible alterations these can cause.
  • Normal epithelial and myoepithelial cells to examine the effect of changing specific genes through either Knockout/Knock in of genes or the use of CRISPR.
  • Any of the individual cell types for the levels of specific RNA and protein or for a broader look through methods such as RNAseq.
  • Tumour fibroblasts to examine their role in tumour growth and or metastasis and the corresponding surround fibroblasts to serve as a control. 
  • Tumour explants to examine the effect of therapeutic agents on both the tumour cells and their surrounding microenvironment with corresponding explants from the surround to serve as a control.
  • Enriched tumour cells for novel culture methods that may enable growth of tumour cells (Samples are being provided for the Human Cancer Models Initiative)
  • Enriched tumour cells for assays requiring very limited numbers of cells to look at specific processes or markers.

Recoverable Costs

Primary Cell type Recoverable Costs per vial
  Cost recovery per vial Academic (33% discount) BCN funded

Passage 1 epithelial and passage 2 or 3 myoepithelial cells from normal (reduction mammoplasty) breast

£150 £100 n/a
Passage 3 fibroblasts (all tissue types) £50 £33 n/a

Explants - approximately 10 2mm x 2mm pieces per vial (all tissue types)

£300

£200

n/a
Enriched tumour cells £200 £130 n/a
Organoids  - ductal/lobular alveolar fraction  from normal breast £300 £200 n/a
Single cells from normal breast £100 £66 n/a
Other bespoke cell types

To be decided dependant on cells required

Services  
Overhead fee (per request) £150 n/a n/a

 

*Applicants are responsible for courier costs

Download a list of publications that use BCN Cell Bank samples.

Frequently Asked Questions