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Jan 15, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 2)

Culture Media Underly Productivity Gains

Optimization Has the Potential to Create Higher-Quality Products and Robust Processes

  • Specialty Cells

    The use of stem cells and other nontraditional cells for human therapy is becoming an area of increasing importance for media formulation. Nutrient and other requirements for expanding populations of therapeutic cells to commercial scale vary widely from those for production cells.

    Many therapeutic cells are anchorage-dependent and have been generated in serum-supplemented or serum-free culture containing components of animal origin. Eventually, since these cells and tissues are introduced into human patients, the cells must be brought into compliance with standards for production cells. 

    “In many cases, this means redeveloping culture media to replace nonhuman animal origin components with human-derived or animal-origin-free components,” notes Stephen F. Gorfien, Ph.D., director, bioproduction products and PD-Direct® Media Services at Life Technologies. “These modifications are difficult owing to the dependence of the cells on various growth factors, cytokines, and attachment factors, recombinant or synthetic forms of which may not be commercially available at reasonable cost.”

    Invitrogen offers a service, PD-Direct® Bioprocess, which among other things helps companies used to working with suspension cultures of production cells migrate therapeutic cell lines from anchorage-dependent to suspension-dependent status.

  • Vibrant Business

    Despite what may or may not be an industry-wide slowdown, cell culture media remains a vibrant business, particularly for specialty cells. After its acquisition of Serologicals in 2006 Millipore—known for its filtration products—found itself in the business of supplying media and reagents for stem cells and primary cell cultures. In October the company introduced a medium for generating 3-D epidermal keratinocytes.

    Louise Rollins, product manager, cell biology products, reports that Millipore’s cell culture portfolio “offers unique synergies with classic Millipore products,” and provides a “complete integrated solution for cell culture.” The company has an ongoing program to commercialize a portfolio of specialty cell culture systems, including endothelial, epithelial, and stem cells.

Readers' Comments

Posted 01/15/2009 by President, AminoAcids.com

It would be nice to talk about the effects on nutrient analysis on the optimization of media and how this increases end product yield in both cell culture and fermentation processes. Aminoacids, B-vitamin and fatty acids all are key nutrients in these productivity gains. The increase yield/titer vs. cost of analysis is small compared to over cost of the process.

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