Cell culture is widely used today in the production of various biologically active materials, such as viral vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, hormones, enzymes, and tumor-specific antigens. These items are produced by normal, transformed, and genetically engineered cells. The large-scale cultivation of specific cell lines is of major importance in the cost- effective manufacturing of many therapeutic proteins.

>From laboratory benchtops to production floors, and even in outer space (see accompanying story), life sciences researchers require cell-culturing techniques that are more productive, easier to use, and more closely simulate in vivo situations. Yet traditional methods of producing these cell lines have left something to be desired, according to these scientists.

On the laboratory scale, anchorage-dependent cells, which must attach themselves to a substrate to grow and propagate, are often cultured in stationary T-flasks or roller bottles in batch-type cultures. These conventional processes are highly labor-intensive, typically requiring many growth vessels for the...

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