Standardization Tools

STEMCELL Technologies is committed to getting the most out of your cell culture systems. Our standardization tools include Proficiency Testing programs, Quality Control Kits, and other instructional materials to improve your competency with performing the hematopoietic colony forming unit (CFU) assay.

For the Hematopoietic Colony Forming Unit (CFU) Assay

The colony forming unit (CFU) assay is used extensively for research and clinical applications, and is the benchmark functional assay to assess the proliferative ability of hematopoietic cells.1-4 STEMCELL Technologies encourages laboratories to participate in our Proficiency Testing programs to reduce user variability.5-6

Evaluate your ability to perform all steps of the CFU assay including upstream events such as cell thawing, dilution, inoculation and plating through our Proficiency Testing programs. Participants are provided with a cell sample, MethoCult™ medium, additional reagents and supplies, and detailed instructions required to perform the CFU assay. The results from all participants are analyzed and compared to the cohort mean according to guidelines outlined in ISO 13528.

Why Use Our Proficiency Testing Programs?

  • Compare your progenitor counts to other centers worldwide.
  • Cohort data is represented with dot plots and histograms.
  • Identify areas that may benefit from continued education and training.


  1. Gordon MY. Blood Rev 7: 190-197, 1993.
  2. Page KM, et al. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 17: 1362-1374, 2011.
  3. Hogge DE, et al. Bone Marrow Transpl 25: 589-598, 2000.
  4. Sutherland R, et al. Stem Cells 11 (Suppl 3): 50, 1993.
  5. Burger SR, et al. Transfusion 39: 451-456, 1999.
  6. Lumley MA, et al. Br J Haematol 97: 481-484, 1997.

Proficiency Testing Program Schedule

Program (Session)
Registration Deadline
Proficiency Testing Kit Shipment Date*
Program Status
Fresh Cord Blood (CBH15)**
July 24, 2020
September 2, 2020
Frozen Cord Blood (CBZ21)
September 4, 2020
September 30, 2020
Human Bone Marrow (BM44)
September 25, 2020
October 20, 2020
* Shipping dates may vary for locations outside of North America
** Fresh Cord Blood sessions are available in North America only

Proficiency Testing programs are available only in certain territories. Please contact your local Sales representative or for more information.

For the Hematopoietic CFU Assay

STEMCELL Quality Control Kits are recommended for cell processing laboratories that monitor their ability to reproducibly set up, culture and score hematopoietic colony forming unit (CFU) assays. The kit contains standardized MethoCult™ medium, pre-tested human cells from either bone marrow or cord blood, and culture supplies to perform monthly CFU assays over a one-year period. Detailed instructions on the setup of the CFU assay and scoring of hematopoietic colonies (CFU-E, BFU-E, CFU-GM and CFU-GEMM) are also included. The use of a standardized medium and identical aliquots of cells from a single source minimizes variability associated with the components of the CFU assay, allowing you to monitor a laboratory's consistency in performing the assay.

Human Bone Marrow Quality Control Kit
Quality control kit for hematopoietic CFU assays using human bone marrow samples.

Human Cord Blood Quality Control Kit
Quality control kit for hematopoietic CFU assays using frozen cord blood samples.

Colony Atlases and Cell Culture Protocols

STEMCELL Technologies provides a number of training tools, including atlases to help you identify and evaluate colonies derived from hematopoietic progenitor cells, and detailed protocols for the culture of specialized cell types.

Atlas of Human Hematopoietic Colonies
The perfect hematopoietic stem cell laboratory tool to guide you through the process of identifying and evaluating colonies derived from human hematopoietic progenitor cells grown in different methylcellulose-based formulations. Over 160 photographs are accompanied by instructions and guidelines for identifying CFU-E, BFU-E, CFU-GEMM, CFU-GM, CFU-G and CFU-M.

Atlas of Hematopoietic Colonies From Cord Blood
This atlas provides detailed color images of hematopoietic colonies derived from human umbilical CB progenitors grown in methylcellulose-based cultures. Instructions and tips for identifying and enumerating colonies from both fresh and frozen samples are included. Also addressed are issues related to red blood cell background and optimal plating densities.

Atlas of Human Hematopoietic Colonies in Health and Disease
This atlas provides instructions for culturing and identifying colonies derived from human hematopoietic progenitor cells in methylcellulose-based media. The morphology of colonies from healthy individuals and patients with hematological disorders is illustrated in 230 detailed color photographs. A practical and concise guide to the use of precursor cell cultures as a complementary tool for the diagnosis and follow-up of hematological stem cell disorders.

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