Lab Manager | Run Your Lab Like a Business

Cover Story |  October 2012

Insights On A Cell Culture Lab

A lab manager magazine technology buyer’s report



Starting Them Up, Keeping Them Running

Although cell culture is more than 100 years old, it has only been applied to the manufacture of biological drugs for about 25 years. Today mammalian cell culture is the workhorse production platform for most of biotech’s protein therapeutics and increasingly for cell- and virus-based vaccines.

A Solid Chain of Custody is the Top Priority

After applications and processes, workflow optimization is the primary consideration when setting up a cell culture lab. Workflow relates to how samples and cultures move through the lab, the number of operations going on simultaneously, and chain of custody.

Usage and Layout Optimized to Workflows is Critical

Isolating facility and layout from equipment during planning and maintenance of a cell culture lab
entails considerable risk, if for no other reason than the latter must fit into the former.

Cell Productivity and Performance Depend on Media Quality and Consistency

As Canadian scholar Marshall McLuhan famously noted, “The medium is the message.” So it is with cell culture, where media and feed or supplementation strategies have been responsible for more improvement in cell productivity and performance than any other factors.

Simple Changes in Lab Policy Could Reduce Contamination Significantly

Contamination, the bane of cell culture work, occurs at every level, from high school labs using Petri dishes to large-scale manufacturing plants. Given the ubiquity of microorganisms, saying that contamination is inevitable is not an understatement.

Q&A with Select Cell Culture Experts

In this Q & A, three experts from both academia and industry discuss the types of cell culture they perform in their labs, technologies they use, and the challenges they face.