Primary Airway Cell Biobank


PACB is committed to providing top-quality airway epithelial cells to researchers. This platform involves the establishment of a procurement network through Canada, with several physicians and surgical teams, following ethical requirements.


From CF Patient to CF Investigator


Primary human bronchial epithelial cells (HBE) are isolated from human lungs, normal or diseased such as:

  • Cystic Fibrosis (CF)
  • Asthma
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Chronic bronchitis 
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Emphysema
  • Lupus
  • Bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia





Human lung dissection

Human lung tissues are provided by transplant centers across Canada and other not-for-profit partners. Primary airways cells are isolated, cultured and cryopreserved at PACB.​ After rigorous quality control assessing the genotype (CF), cell purity and differentiation capacity transport function; high quality primary cells displaying characteristics very similar to in vivo airways (i.e. abundance of ciliated and goblet cells) are supplied on different formats (cryovials, flasks, well differentiated epithelium on filters) at a competitive price as compared to primary HBE cells presently on the market. 



How is the pseudostratified epithelium differentiated?

Obtaining well differentiated polarized HBE cultures is crucial to have a representative model in vitro, featuring physiological and morphological characteristics similar to the surface airway epithelial cells in the lung.

The differentiation of primary HBE cells to a pseudostratified mucociliary epithelium is reproducibly achieved by culturing cells for 21 to 30 days on porous filters in air-liquid interface.

Pseudostratified and differentiated epithelium

The resulting in vitro model exhibit physiologically relevant proportions of goblet and ciliated cells and recapitulates many of the characteristics of the in vivo human airways, including mucus secretion, cilia motility and formation of cellular tight junctions.

PACB is committed to offering advice and technical support to users.

We also provide specialized cell-culture media (ie. BEGM, ALI), personalized to the needs of the investigator.

Supported by:


McGill University is situated on the traditional territory of the Kanien’kehà:ka, a place which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst nations. We recognize and respect the Kanien’kehà:ka as the traditional custodians of these lands and waters.



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