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Dev Biol Stand. 1999;99:17-22.

Why do we still use serum in the production of biopharmaceuticals?

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Glaxo Wellcome R&D, Stevenage, Hertfordshire, UK.


Eukaryotic cells, in general, require serum for growth in vitro. Serum is a complex mixture of a large number of constituents, so the addition of serum introduces an ambiguous factor into cell cultivation. However, many commercially available sera are of a high uniform quality. Of these, foetal bovine serum is the most frequently used and is capable of supporting the growth of a wide variety of eukaryotic cells. However, with the identification of essential growth factors and nutrients required by different cells, several very effective serum-free media have been formulated. The use of these serum-free media is limited to a very narrow range of cells. Regulatory constraints generally make it impractical and uneconomic to alter existing biopharmaceutical production processes in which serum is used as a raw material.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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