Cell culture refers to the process of growing cells under controlled conditions, usually outside their natural environment. Even though cell culture techniques were significantly advanced in the 1940s-50s to support research in virology, rapid development of the same in the recent past has been truly remarkable.
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The Global cell culture market has been witnessing strong growth in the biopharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. In 2013, Transparency Market Research pegged the value of the cell culture market at US$6.1 bn, which is projected to rise to US$11.3 bn by 2022, expanding at a 7.10% CAGR during that period.
Let’s take a look at some of the most recent developments in the field of cell culture.
3D Cell Growth to Repair Paralyzed Spinal Cord
Researchers at Griffith University have presented a unique technique to grow cells in a 3D format, sans the conventional restrictions of scaffolds and matrices. This new avenue will help advance a therapy that repairs paralyzed spinal cords. Dr James St. John, a research supervisor at Griffith’s Eskitis Institute for Drug Discovery, says that cell growth in a three-dimensional format increases their function and growth prospects, which is especially useful in spinal transplantation repair, wherein cells are transplanted to the site of injury.
With the help of floating liquid marbles, cells are allowed to freely associate and develop natural structures like they would within the human body.
Human Trials to Repair Damaged Hearts with Stem Cells
Scientists at the University of Washington (UW) have developed a technique to repair damaged hearts with the help of stem cells and this technique has just received a US$10-mn grant from Seattle-based Washington Research Foundation. This boost will allow scientists to begin the first human trials in a couple of years.
Dr. Chuck Murry, director of the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at UW, and his team have shown that stem cells can regenerate damaged heart muscle in guinea pigs, mice, and monkeys.
GE Supplies Bioreactors for Growth of Genetically Modified T-Cells
General Electric Co. has begun supplying bioreactors to drug makers for the growth of genetically modified T-cells in clinical trials. The company’s healthcare division projects that given the increase in the number of patients being treated with engineered cancer-fighting T-cells, drug makers are likely to make at least US$10 bn in sales by 2021. Speaking to Bloomberg in the latter half of October 2015, product leader of GE’s cell therapy technologies unit, Clive Glover, said that the clinical efficacy of experimental cancer immunotherapies will result in higher reimbursement prices, reaching as high as US$500,000 per treatment.
At the moment, GE Healthcare is the only company supplying bioreactors to developers of engineered T-cells.
Companies involved in the field of cell culture include Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc., VWR International, LLC, GE Healthcare, PromoCell GmbH, EMD Millipore, BD Biosciences, Corning Incorporated, Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, and Lonza Group.
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