Cell culture is the complex and delicate process of maintaining and/or growing dispersed cells, which have been isolated from either tissue or serum, under controlled conditions, generally outside of the respective natural environment, and more commonly upon the surface of a cell culture plate immersed in nutrient rich growth media. With the exception of some primary cell lines that have been derived from tumor tissue, most primary cell cultures are incapable of indefinite expansion given that these cells tend to undergo only a finite number of population doublings before succumbing to senescence, at which point the general viability of the cells is retained but the ability to undergo further replications is lost. Those tumor-derived primary cell lines that demonstrate the ability to avoid senescence and proliferate indefinitely, do so through the accumulation of either coincidental or manufactured mutations that cooperatively allow for unrestrained cell proliferation that defies the normal constraints of cellular division, such as telomerase production, decreased density-dependent growth inhibition and anchorage-independence. The use of cell cultures, which can be maintained in states of both suspension and adherence in order to mimic the respective environments from which those cells were initially removed, has proven to be fundamental to advancements in the disciplines of tissue culturing and engineering, the manufacturing of viral vaccines, and the production of both proteins and antibodies.
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