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Detection and Prevalence of HIV, Hepatitis B and Mycoplasma sp. in Human Cell Lines and Tumors with h-IMPACT Assays
Lela K. Riley, PhD and Robert S. Livingston, DVM, PhD
RADIL, 4011 Discovery Drive, Columbia, MO 65201
Sponsored by RADIL
Published in December 2009 (p.9) DOI:  10.2144/000113322
Human cell lines and tumors represent important tools in biomedical research and they are extensively used. The most common sources of human cell lines and tumors are specimens taken directly from patients and cultured specimens stored and distributed by repositories and cell banks. In either case, cell lines and tumors may harbor human pathogens. The presence of infectious agents in these biological materials presents a serious health risk to research personnel who handle these materials. Evaluation of human cells and tumors for the presence of pathogens prior to use in the laboratory will prevent unintentional exposure and potential infections of personnel.
To begin to address this issue, RADIL developed PCR assays for HIV, Hepatitis A, B, and C, and used these assays to screen 800 human cell lines and tumors. Results indicated that 0.61% of specimens were positive for HIV and 0.49% were positive for Hepatitis B. These data highlight the prevalence of potentially serious human pathogens in human cell lines and tumors and the importance of testing human biological materials that are used in laboratory settings.
Recognizing that contamination of cell lines with Mycoplasma sp. is one of the major problems occurring in cultured cells, RADIL also developed a PCR-based assay that detects all Mycoplasma species that are commonly found as contaminants of cell lines and tumors. Evaluation of the same 800 human cell lines and tumors showed an 8% prevalence of Mycoplasma sp.
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