An Introduction to Mammalian Cell Culture

An Introduction to Mammalian Cell Culture

Mammalian cell culture is a highly regarded technique with academic and research applications. It is a requisite skill for researchers whose work requires consistent, scaleable quantities of human and animal cells for pharmaceutical, immunology, toxicological, and molecular biology research. If you are interested in learning about mammalian cell culture and its vast range of applications, here’s a brief look into its study.

What is mammalian cell culture?

This refers to the process of growing cells taken from mammals in-vitro. That is, growing cells outside the original tissue in a growth medium with the right nutrients. Mammalian cells are eukaryotic, meaning the individual cells are more complex than bacterial cells, which are often used to teach simple cell culturing techniques.

This complexity also stems from the specialization of the different cells in the various organs and tissues. Mammalian cells are grouped into cell types depending on their origin, function and morphology.

Morphology of a cell determines how it is grown in cell culture. Most cells can be grouped by one of two growth conditions – adherent or suspension.

  • Adherent cells are grown on a flat surface where they adhere and grow to occupy the surface they are seeded upon.
  • Suspension cells are free-floating in solution and occupy the entire three-dimensional volume of the culture vessel.

Matching a cell’s growth condition to a culture vessel is critical to proper and effective mammalian cell culture.

Uses for mammalian cell culture

Understanding cell biology is the key driving factor of all biotechnical advancements, especially in research and medicine. Damage can occur to any of the body cells as a result of disease and injury. A deep understanding of cell biology and cell types allows researchers and scientists to develop appropriate treatment methods.

Additionally, research into mammalian cell structure can be utilized in the following ways.

  • Production of biological products such as antibodies, enzymes, hormones, etc.

    Recombinant antibody expression combines cutting edge molecular biology techniques with mammalian cell culture to create antibody products superior in purity and scalability to those produced using traditional methods. Using cell culture for the controlled production of biological molecules has opened up new opportunities for research and medicine that were once much less accessible.

  • Manufacture of vaccines to protect people from viral and bacterial diseases.

    One of the most important research models in any biological field and medicine is the in-vitro study of mammalian cells. Mammalian cell culture has been used for the development and manufacture of vaccines, which has a massive positive impact on public health. Even though it requires specialized tools and rigorous antiseptic measures to ensure no cross-contamination occurs, the proven benefits and potential promise of their application are boundless.

Understanding Cell Culture Media

Understanding Cell Culture Media

Scientists who perform laboratory research in the life sciences need to produce conditions in the lab that cater to the survival and/or growth of living cells. This is where cell culture media comes in.

At Cell Culture Company, we implement a well-tested, proven system that facilitates the acceptance of cell lines into our manufacturing center for multiplication and growth. Our system keeps the identity of your cell line protected and utilizes mycoplasma screening to confirm your cells are safe to work with in our facility and production process.

What is Cell Culture Media?

Another name for cell culture media is growth media. This term refers to any liquid or gel developed to help facilitate the growth of cells in an artificial setting. This artificial environment is essential for cells, tissues, and organs scientists remove from living creatures, if they are to remain viable. Cell culture technology relies on culture medium in the support of in vitro cellular research. This medium is the source of nutrients cell cultures need to survive and multiply. It also provides proper pH and osmolality, which is the concentration of dissolved particles of minerals and chemicals.

When selecting a proper growth medium, scientists must factor in the type of cells involved. The types of cell culture media chosen must be based on a variety of factors, including whether the cells are from mammals, insects, plants, viruses, bacteria, or yeast. Results of experiments depend on the correct choice of cell culture medium.

Elements of Cell Culture Media

Cell culture media consist of a mixture of nutrients and compounds designed to help promote the growth of cells. Common components of cell culture media include amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins, basic and trace elements, inorganic salts, hormones, serum, buffering systems, and antibiotics.

Types of Cell Culture Media

There are two major categories of cell culture media – natural and synthetic. Natural media come from animal body fluids or tissue extraction, and may include tissue extracts, biological fluids, and clots or coagulants. Synthetic media, also referred to as artificial media, are produced using various compounds (organic and inorganic).

For information about the services we offer to our clients in the fields of genomics, diagnostics, point-of-care, research, and genetic engineering, call us today at 763.786.0302 or complete our contact form.

Protecting the Supply Chain: What Immunodiagnostic Companies Need to Know

Diagnostic companies invest substantially in developing new products. Many think their biggest challenge will be developing the perfect test, but optimizing their new product supply chain to be secure and efficient is nearly as important and difficult as creating their product. The best diagnostic will fail in the market if the company can’t meet production timelines and costs.

During and post-development, immunodiagnostic companies find themselves in a few specific binds:

  • In-house manufacturing can’t keep up with product portfolio expansion.
  • Antibody manufacturing can be inherently unpredictable.
  • It is challenging to assess the reliability of a potential outsourcing supplier against price point.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how these issues impact product launch and revenue, and present some suggestions for overcoming these roadblocks.

In-house manufacturing: how much trouble is it worth?

Speed to market can heavily influence a new product’s success. Even when there are no pressing competitors, any delay lengthens the runway to seeing a return on investment (ROI). In-house manufacturing can decrease the cost of manufacturing each product (after the initial capital expenditure) and could help get products out the door faster and on a company’s own schedule.

In-house manufacturing comes with significant challenges.

As a company’s product portfolio grows, their own manufacturing facility begins to lose its supply chain advantages. Companies with in-house facilities designed around roller bottles, ascites, or a single product at a time eventually reach their capacity. Products are delayed not due to issues in development or design, but because in-house facilities are already booked out with current products.

Changes in production strategy between products or in the manufacturing process also affects how much and how quickly each batch of antibody can be made. In an overburdened production facility, flexibility is a commodity.

Organizations with insufficient in-house production face two choices:

  1. Build out their internal capacity to meet their growing portfolio needs
  2. Outsource to a contract manufacturing organization (CMO)

Impact of Investment

As the product pipeline grows, companies reliant on in-house manufacturing may consider building out additional capacity. To make this decision, they must carefully weigh the benefits of additional manufacturing space against the risk of the investment.

While “adding more capacity” sounds like an easy fix, new facilities cost millions of dollars to construct and maintain. In a volatile industry, this is an enormous risk. Product demand is difficult to forecast, and redundant capacity can be an expensive mistake.

Redundant in-house capacity can be an expensive mistake.

Building out a new facility – especially a GMP facility – can take years.  For that reason, companies need to invest well before they have a product to launch. Therefore, they need to be certain that a build-out will have the appropriate ROI before deciding it is the right option for them.

Turning to a CMO

The alternative option is to employ a contract manufacturing organization (CMO). These entities offer services to simplify the production process to save diagnostic companies time and money.

CMOs provide flexibility via their own manufacturing facilities. A good CMO will have the ability to scale-up or -down according to the product’s market demand without putting strain on prices or timelines.

This is especially true for CMOs with modular, closed-loop biomanufacturing systems such as hollow fiber bioreactors. This in vitro method of production takes up very little space and can be wheeled in and out of facilities as needed. This added level of adaptability allows CMOs to reduce overhead costs and pass those saving on to the customer.

A CMO also brings expertise and quality, both of which are difficult and expensive to obtain and manage. For companies with fledgling products, bringing in a CMO who can optimize a production process to decrease manufacturing cost of goods is a worthwhile investment.

Cell Culture Company as your manufacturing partner

Cell Culture Company’s mAbVault program may be the supply chain answer your company is looking for. Over the past thirty years, we have produced low cost, high quality biologics for some of the largest diagnostic companies in the world. Our supply chain solutions offer:

  • Guaranteed price per mg of product
  • Guaranteed quantities and long-term storage
  • Lower investment, cost, and flexible pricing options
  • Pay only when we ship product to you

For more information on mAbVault or to discuss supply chain options with us, please visit our website at

Post by Samantha Dunmire, PhD and Emily Wozniak, PhD

Ditch the Mouse: How to Tackle Your Ascites Problem

Despite decades of advancements in in vitro antibody production methods, many of the world’s largest diagnostics and reagents companies are still manufacturing in mice. The ascites method of manufacturing is inherently problematic due to batch inconsistency, supply chain unreliability, quality issues, and the ethics of using animals when alternatives are available.

In this post, we’ll walk through the history of ascites manufacturing, why more and more companies are moving away from ascites, and how it can be effectively accomplished while minimizing risk to the product.

Continue reading “Ditch the Mouse: How to Tackle Your Ascites Problem”

The Perfusion Revolution

Article contributed by Brittni Peterson, PhD, and Emily Wozniak, PhD
Adopting new technologies is a challenge in heavily regulated environments, as innovation is often stymied in favor of safer, established technologies. This is especially true of the biomanufacturing industry. Mainstream bioreactors have been improved only incrementally since the original fermenters that produced ingredients like citric acid in the 1920s (Pictured, left) or yeast in the 1930s and 40s (de Becze and Leibmann, 1944).
Continue reading “The Perfusion Revolution”