Cell culture is a method to grow or maintain cells in the laboratory to mimic an in vivo process or for a specialized function. The cells may be primary such as blood cells or freshly obtained from an animal usually with limited cell proliferation, or a cell line with unlimited proliferation.
Cells often vary in their characteristics depending on their growth phase, starting out from a frozen ampoule, in log growth phase, or reaching stationary phase. Understanding the conditions and methods for any specific cell type needs to be considered and tailored appropriately. Without a healthy cell culture, any cell- based assay or bioassay is subject to lack of reproducibility. The awareness of what is required to grow healthy cells is where our expertise shines most brightly.
Our practices require that we monitor the health of our cells all the time. We have performed 1000s of studies on the variables of cell culture, including observing the cells microscopically to determine whether they have blebs, vesicles, are irregularly shaped, grow in clusters (if not normal), are in plateau (not log growth), and a variety of other observational anomalies. When cells change their morphology, the metabolism is altered, and they may not return to their normal condition with the expected gene expression when the media used will influence the health of cells. The single most undefined reagent is the serum. Fetal calf serum, as an example, varies from batch to batch and vendor to vendor. We work to understand this variable and eliminate it as a risk for future experiments, often by acquiring volumes to last for months or even years’ worth of experiments.
Our cell biologists have been practicing and refining the Art of Cell Culture for over 30 years, performing cell-based (bioassays) here since 1995. Over this time, we have learned volumes about better practices, providing our clients with an extremely high level of success in the earliest stages of work with a consistency of bioassay performance that we are told is remarkable. This is likely a contributing reason why our Clients return for project after project.