Human Primary Cells

Why Use Human Primary Cells?

Immortalized cell lines have long been used in in vitro cell-based assays. However, scientists acknowledge that biological changes resulting from the continuous passage of cell lines may jeopardize their physiological relevance in studies.

Human primary cells are isolated directly from tissues, including blood and bone marrow. They are established as an important tool for in vitro cell-based assays or for generating in vivo models, such as xenograft or humanized mice. The use of human primary cells increases the physiological relevance of data obtained from cell culture systems, and they are increasingly recognized for their importance in the study of biological processes, disease progression, and drug development. Read more about the advantages of using human primary cells over immortalized cell lines in research.

Why Use STEMCELL's Human Primary Cells?

  • Choose cells that are more physiologically representative of cells in vivo.
  • Obtain large lots of rare cell populations including hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells.
  • Start your experiments on your schedule without being restricted by the availability of tissue.
  • Reserve large numbers of cryopreserved cells while you test them in your specific applications.
  • Using isolated primary cells reduces the time spent collecting and culturing primary cells.

Our ethically sourced human primary cell portfolio* includes fresh and cryopreserved products from peripheral blood, cord blood, and bone marrow.

Have a question? See Frequently Asked Questions on Primary Cells for answers, or contact us directly.

Human Primary Cells

Peripheral Blood Products*

Cryopreserved Cells:
  • PBMCs isolated from normal donors: High-resolution HLA typing and CMV status available
  • CD34+ cells, B cells, T cells, NK cells, DCs, monocytes and other cell subsets available
  • PBMCs isolated from diseased state donors: Crohn's Disease, Lupus, Psoriasis and more
  • Mobilized CD34+ and mononuclear cells
  • Plasma

Fresh Cells:
  • Whole blood: Collected in ACDA, CP2D, EDTA or Na-Hep
  • Leukopaks: Full, half, quarter and tenth packs available
  • Purified immune cell subsets including Pan-T cells, NK cells, mononuclear cells, monocytes, and B cells

Cord Blood Products*

Cryopreserved Cells:
  • CD34+ cells from single or mixed donors
  • MNCs, T cells, B cells, NK cells, monocytes and other cell subsets available
  • Plasma

Bone Marrow Products*

Cryopreserved Cells:
  • CD34+ cells, MNCs, CD33+ cells and CD36+ cells1
  • Mesenchymal cells (bone marrow stromal cells1) and CD105+ cells
Fresh Cells:
  • Whole bone marrow
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*Certain products are only available in select territories. Please contact your local Sales representative or the Product & Scientific Support team at for further information.
1 Cultured cell product.

Partner with the Right Human Primary Cell Supplier

Your research success depends on partnering with the right cell supplier. Reduce experimental uncertainty and increase confidence in your results with a dependable source of quality human primary cells that consistently meet your requirements. Our sales and support teams are committed to helping you find the right human primary cells that are ethically sourced and approved for use in your application. Read on to learn how STEMCELL Technologies works closely with researchers to ensure that their needs are met.

A Reliable Supply of Human Primary Cells

A reliable source of human primary cells ensures continuity in your research and allows you to start your experiments according to your schedule, without being restricted by the availability of tissue. Avoid many of the challenges often associated with obtaining human biological material by using fresh or cryopreserved cells that are ready-to-use upon receipt. Our Quality Assurance, Quality Control, and Regulatory Affairs departments are ready to assist you with any necessary documentation to meet specific institutional requirements, including supplier approval for ease of procurement.

Quality, Ethically Sourced Human Primary Cells

All human primary cell products are ethically sourced using Informed Consent Forms (ICFs) and protocols approved by either an Institutional Review Board, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and/or an equivalent regulatory authority. Donations are performed in the United States in compliance with applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and guidance. Donors are pre-screened for general health and viral status, including HIV-1, HIV-2, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. Additional screening or analysis is available upon request. Learn more about our Donor Viral Screening Policy**.

Most purified cells are isolated using column-free cell isolation technology and cryopreserved in defined, serum-free media. State-of-the-art equipment including automated cryogenic storage systems and cryogenic sample carriers ensure cold chain custody management and high sample integrity. Cells are shipped with a Certificate of Analysis indicating guaranteed Quality Control testing results including cell count, viability, and purity. STEMCELL's Quality Management System is certified to ISO 13485, Medical Devices.

Donor Specifications and Characterization Services

Choose human primary cells based on donor specifications that include gender, age range, BMI range, ethnicity, blood type, smoker status, CMV, HLA, and more. Save time by letting us characterize your cells with services that include high-resolution HLA typing (Class I and II), CMV status, EBV status, and vaccination status. Reserve multiple lots before selecting your lot of interest based on the test results.

Flexible Delivery and Shipping Options

Flexible delivery options allow you to start experiments according to your schedule. Schedule your collection and delivery of fresh cells* at your convenience with our Customer Service representatives ( Early morning delivery is available for customers based in the United States, and same day delivery is available in select regions. Please consult your local sales representative or contact us for delivery options available in your region.

Cryopreserved cells are shipped using dry ice, but liquid nitrogen dry vapor shippers are available upon request. Fresh immune cell subsets* are shipped at 4°C. Fresh leukopaks and whole blood products* are shipped at room temperature using standard boxes and delivered within 24 hours of collection. Alternatively, certified temperature boxes are available upon request. Read more about our Fresh Order Fulfillment Policy***.

Flexible Policy on Orders and Holds

Reduce the lead time for upcoming studies that may require specific donors or large quantities of cells by working closely with your local sales representative. We can start the collection and manufacturing process in advance of large projects, ensuring that your cells are ready when you are.

When working with human biological material, variability between donors or sample collections is expected. Reduce the time and effort associated with pre-screening cells from different lots before each experiment by reserving entire lots of cryopreserved cells while you test them in your assays. This ensures that your preferred cells are ready for your next experiment, without the need to pre-screen again. Contact your local sales representative or our primary cells team to learn more.

Custom Products

Custom products are available upon request for non-standard cell types or collections with specific requirements. Custom products include:

  • Rare or difficult-to-isolate cell types
  • Specific donor recruitment criteria
  • Collection in alternative anticoagulants
  • Donor-matched collections for fresh and/or cryopreserved cells
  • Different formats, volumes, or sizes
  • Additional testing

Contact our primary cells team or contact your local sales representative to discuss your specific regulatory or product requirements.

Workflow Solutions

A standardized cell culture system not only includes quality cells, but also quality media, supplements, reagents, and protocols. Unlike other cell suppliers, we have over 20 years of expertise in the development of cell isolation and cell culture reagents to support every stage of your research workflow. Our latest technologies are used to isolate, culture, and cryopreserve your cells, enabling you to start your research with confidence. Explore related and compatible products for each stage of hematopoietic research, immunology research, or another research area of interest.

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Figure 1. Integrated Workflow Solutions for Your Research

From primary human cells to cell isolation kits, culture media, supplements, antibodies, and more, STEMCELL Technologies provides the tools you need for every step of your research.

Expert Primary Cell-Based Assay Services

Are you looking for expertise beyond your in-house drug discovery capabilities? STEMCELL's Contract Assay Services (CAS) is a contract research organization (CRO) specializing in primary cell-based assays. Since 2000, CAS has performed drug toxicity and efficacy testing studies for over 120 pharmaceutical, biotechnology, government, and academic life science organizations worldwide. CAS specializes in the various applications of the in vitro hematopoietic colony-forming unit (CFU) assay, also known as the colony-forming cell (CFC) assay. In addition, CAS performs standardized and customized immunological and mesenchymal cell-based assays. Choose from a portfolio of standardized assays using pre-qualified primary stem cells or discuss your customized needs with our in-house experts. Learn more about Contract Assay Services or discuss your research by contacting

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Frequently Asked Questions on Primary Cells

Find answers to frequently asked questions on primary cells from STEMCELL Technologies.

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*Certain products are only available in select territories. Please contact your local Sales representative or the Product & Scientific Support team at for further information.

**Donor Viral Screening Policy:

Leukopak, Whole Blood, and Bone Marrow Products

Fresh Products: Donors are screened for HIV-1, HIV-2, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. If the donor has tested negative within 90 days prior to donation, the product will be shipped with negative test results. If the donor has not been screened within 90 days prior to collection, a test sample will be taken at the time of collection and the product will be shipped before the screening results are available. In the event that a test result is positive, the customer will be contacted as soon as possible (usually within 2-4 business days from the time of shipment).

Cryopreserved Products: Donors are screened for HIV-1, HIV-2, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. If the donor has tested negative within 90 days prior to donation, the product will be shipped with negative test results.

Cord Blood Products

Cryopreserved Products: Testing for HIV-1, HIV-2, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C is performed on a sample of maternal blood and/ or donated cord blood. Products are shipped with negative test results from the donor screening.

***Fresh Order Fulfillment Policy:
Shipment date of fresh leukopak or whole blood orders is subject to change based on the ability of donors to meet procedural requirements during collection or on changes in donor availability. Collections will be rescheduled as soon as possible according to customer requirements.

STEMCELL does not test for infectious diseases other than those listed above and the testing that is done cannot completely guarantee that the donor was virus-free. Therefore THESE PRODUCTS SHOULD BE TREATED AS POTENTIALLY INFECTIOUS and only used following appropriate handling precautions such as those described in biological safety level 2. When handling these products do not use sharps such as needles and syringes.
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