Current and Future Methods for Cell Cultures

by Sierra Parisian

Artificially culturing cells for use within the laboratory is one of the most advanced medical techniques in today’s modern world. This is particularly important, for much of the progress made in stem cell research have arisen from this process. This is quite a complicated undertaking and yet it has the potential to yield truly phenomenal results in the near future. Let us take a quick look at a basic overview of the current processes as well as some future methods worth noting.

Current Techniques

First, isolated cells will be extracted from a living organism (such as bone marrow in humans and more recently, stem cells). Under normal conditions, they will divide until a certain point. The point at which they stop replicating is called sensecence. After this, the cells will be maintained within an environment which will keep them alive (correct temperature and moisture conditions).Of particular note is that many private organisations utilise a substance known as laminin. Laminin protein strains are heavily involved in the survival, replication and differentiation of most cells. In effect, this is one of the key chemicals which enables stem cells to become other specialized tissues such as bone or cardiac muscle.When these stem calls are “told” to differentiate, they will replicate and form small amounts of viable tissue. Once again, these are kept under controlled laboratory conditions. The theory (and practice) is that these cells can then be transplanted into a human body. As there is little chance of rejection, stem cells offer a host of treatment options.

Future Techniques

One of the most promising advancements comes in the form of three-dimensional cellular manipulation. While this process is actually quite complicated, its basic premise revolves around the use of magnetic levitation through the use of nanoparticles. It is hoped that by literally levitating these cells, a greater amount of interaction can take place within a shorter amount of time. This overcomes one of the main stumbling blocks of current research; only a small number of cells can be cultured from an initial sample. It is said that up to 500 million specialised cells can be created from a single sample. This process is already being used in cancer and pharmacological applications.These are some of the most interesting current and future trends in cell culturing. It is hoped that such processes will be able to treat and prevent a host of serious conditions in the not-so-distant future.