Developing New or Improved Cell Line Based Techniques

When starting from scratch, the selection of an authentic and effective cell line becomes even more crucial. Ideally, the cells should accurately replicate in vitro the characteristics of interest in the target human tissue. A first step is to draw up a list of candidate cell lines from such tissue sources. However, it should be borne in mind that the process of generating new cell lines often involves numerous deleterious changes or transformation of the cells. So-called cell "immortalization" techniques usually cause genetic damage or intervention in normal cellular function, and include viral or carcinogenic transformation, genetic damage by irradiation or chemical carcinogens, and transfection with recombinant DNA vectors. Any one of these could elicit abnormal cell biology. Thus, in many cases cell lines cannot precisely replicate the particular functions of a certain natural cell or tissue type and it is therefore vital, when starting out to develop a new in-vitro cell-based assay, to start with a number of candidate cell lines which can be compared and selected to provide the best and most representative response compared to the target cell or tissue in vivo.

As mentioned above (see Section 9.2.1.2), it is also vital to establish key reference materials to evaluate cell responses.

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