First established in the 1880’s, cell culture is the process by which cells are grown in a laboratory under controlled environment. The culturing of different kinds of cells supports scientific, technological and therapeutic developments in human and animal health. Technology has allowed the production of a diverse number of biologic compounds such as monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, and cytokines. Given their importance, cell culture strategies have been developed that address the environmental conditions and nutritional demands for optimal metabolism and proliferation of cell lines for different applications.
We will discuss vital elements to successful cell culture including the choice of medium that provides the necessary nutrients to the cells. Media range from classical formulations to those designed to promote cell growth that are of animal-free origin. Media formulations also include those that can promote cell growth in the absence of serum supplementation and those that are chemically defined. GE Healthcare provides such media for many of the cell culture dependent biotechnology applications.
While media is an important component of successful cell culture, reliable results and optimal production can only be achieved while maintaining excellent control over the process of cell growth, which is susceptible to contamination by various sources. We review critical aspects of prevention with simple techniques and good laboratory practice.