Cell Lines

Neurofibromatosis Therapeutic Acceleration Program (NTAP) supports programs that foster collaboration and encourage the open and timely sharing of results. The reagents and knowledge that are generated in our programs are made available to the neurofibromatosis community to ensure discoveries are advanced as quickly as possible.

Fueling your Research:

Immortalized Human Plexiform Neurofibroma Cells Are Now Available – FOR FREE

Development of therapies for human disease remains dependent on well-characterized and validated model systems.  Slow growing histologically benign tumors such as neurofibromas are challenging to grow in typical culture conditions.  As a result, the scientific field has been without reproducible, well-characterized cell culture model systems for neurofibromas.  A team of researchers from the University of Florida, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), and Sage Bionetworks with support from the Neurofibromatosis Therapeutic Acceleration Program (NTAP) at Johns Hopkins, have developed and characterized a set of immortalized patient derived plexiform neurofibroma Schwann cells in an initial effort to create a series of cells that represent the genetic diversity of human plexiform tumors.

Li et al , Laboratory Investigation, 2016 Oct; 96:1105–1115. PMID: 27617404

Ferrer et al, Scientific Data, 2018, 5:180106. PMID: 29893754

These invaluable tools for developing therapeutics for the treatment of neurofibromas, and possibly other diseases, and are now available for ordering from ATCC! Characterization information is available for viewing at Synapse.




NTAP is offering the opportunity for up to a 100% reimbursement of your purchase of these cells from ATCC!

ATCC Part # Product Description
CRL-3387 hTERT ipNF05.5 (mixed clones) Plexiform neurofibroma Human
CRL-3388 hTERT ipNF05.5 Plexiform neurofibroma (single clone) Human
CRL-3389 hTERT ipNF95.6 Plexiform neurofibroma Human
CRL-3390 hTERT ipNF95.11b C Plexiform neurofibroma Human
CRL-3391 hTERT ipnNF95.11c Schwann cell Human
CRL-3392 hTERT ipn02.3 2λ Schwann cell Human


To order cells from ATCC:

  1. Go to https://www.atcc.org
  2. Create a user profile (if a new user)
  3. Establish a customer account (if new customer)
  4. Order the desired cells in the table above at ATCC

To begin the reimbursement process*, after ordering the cells:

  1. Download the attached application, carefully review the reimbursement guidelines, and fill out.
  2. Within 90 days of your purchase, return your completed application along with a copy of your invoice and proof of payment to info@n-tap.org.  

*Purchasers from government agencies should not use the reimbursement application, but rather contact NTAP directly at info@n-tap.org with their request for a reimbursement.

Through exogenous expression of human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) and murine cyclin-dependent kinase (mCdk4) using retroviral (and subsequently lentiviral) vectors carrying the hTERT and mCdk4 genes, normal (NF1 wild-type, +/+), neurofibroma-derived Schwann cells that were heterozygous (+/-) for NF1 mutation, and homozygous (-/-) for NF1 mutation, were immortalized.  In-depth characterization of the immortalized cells entailed real time PCR for hTERT and mCdk4, NF1 mutational analysis, and studies for karyotyping, cell authentication, contact inhibition, proliferation rate and doubling time, apoptosis, microsatellite instability, and tumorigenicity.  To learn more and view characterization data, click here


Publication: The first report of immortalization and detailed characterization of multiple human NF1 normal nerve and neurofibroma-derived Schwann cell lines (auspices of Dr. Wallace, University of Florida)

CIDr/NTAP Collaboration(1) Genetic characterization studies (Cell Line Authentication, SNP Array, Exome Sequencing, and RNA Sequencing) of NF1-/-, NF1-/+, and NF1+/+ cell-lines to be available as tool-set for community, and (2) Analyses conducted by Sage Bionetworks.

Sage AnalysisBioinformatics analyses of pNF cell lines’ high throughput screening data.

Screening (Single Agent MIPEs, combo): As a result of a collaboration between UFL, NTAP, and NCATS, a panel of cell culture systems that represented pNF complexity was used to screen new compounds (as single and combination agents) and identify novel therapeutic targets.

Validation Studies: The goal of these experiments (conducted at IU) was to validate the results of preliminary HTS at NIH/NCATS by Dr. Ferrer.