The full range of cells available includes chondrocytes, synovial fibroblasts, epithelial cells and carcinoma associated fibroblasts, which have been isolated from various parts of the body, including synovium from the joints of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and cartilage from patients with osteoarthritis. Asterand produces these cells in its laboratories by propagating them for limited periods of time and then cryo-preserving them after a minimal number of passages. "Cells are available from cultures preserved after minimal time in the laboratory," said Dr Vici Blanc, director of Product Development. "This approach is important because cells can change over time under laboratory conditions and scientists need them to remain closely resembling those which are in the body." Minimal and zero passage cells provide researchers with excellent systems for analysing drug action in living human cells and for understanding the molecular progression of diseases. "We may be the only company in the world that is able to offer this research approach," said Blanc. "We are uniquely positioned to obtain these samples because we operate a worldwide network of collection sites where patients have the opportunity to donate fully de-identified samples for research." Researchers will be able to order synovial cells for arthritis research through Asterand's online catalogue or via Asterand's laboratories in Detroit Michigan and Royston, UK. "We are able to collect samples for cell culture and cryopreservation on a custom basis," said Dr. Blanc. "So if researchers have special needs for isolated cells which are not immediately available, Asterand may be able to help them," Blanc added.