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Animal cell culture is more complicated; thus, it is more expensive than traditional fermentation. The most widely used animal cells are Chinese hamster ovary CHO cells.

Mining Plant Genomes - A modern approach to herbal healing

Certain kinds of cells, particularly epithelial cells, are more robust than others and thus are easier to grow in culture. CHO cells are epithelial cells that were introduced to science in the s.

They multiply quickly, are relatively hardy, and grow well in culture. The increasing use of mammalian cell lines, including versatile and uniquely capable stem cells, in upstream bioprocessing has imposed specific demands on cell cultures: namely, better-defined media.


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The rising stakes and production levels of companies active in biopharmaceuticals have dictated improved reproducibility or consistency in product; mitigation of the risk of contamination; and the use of culture product more amenable to downstream processing or purification. Serum-free media is the more complex composition designed for universal use in culturing mammalian cell lines. Animal-free and chemically defined media formulations are less complex and more defined, but are limited to the cultivation of specific cell types.

This work may involve various changes, such as gene amplification or gene duplication, the addition of one or more copies of a gene of interest so that each cell produces more protein. For example, an animal cell line that naturally prefers to grow attached to a surface can be adapted to grow suspended in liquid, emulating the way bacteria or yeasts grow. Cells can be modified so that they perform post-translational modification of the protein in more desirable ways.

When experimentation has produced an optimal version of the cell line, a master cell bank is created.

Biologic Drugs and Biosimilars

Working cell banks are created from the master cell bank for producing batches of product. Each batch will be made by seed stock that came from either another working cell bank or the master cell bank. A complex set of conditions that affect cell propagation, product yield, and concentration of nutrients, waste, and products must be considered in designing a fermentation process. Of paramount concern are fluid viscosity, momentum, and the sizes of the cells involved. The performance of a fermentor or bioreactor is governed by thermodynamics such as the solubility of oxygen in the medium , microkinetics such as cell growth and product formation , and transport of materials moving nutrients into the cells and removing waste products.

Optimal mixing ensures effective oxygen transfer, heat transfer, and dispersal of materials. Minor deficiencies in circulation of the medium can have major effects on growth and protein production. Cell culture production is growing faster in the Asia Pacific region than any place else in the world.

New technologies used in cell culture production, in particular single-use disposable production systems, are dramatically lowering building costs of biomanufacturing plants.

Mining Plant Genomes - A modern approach to herbal healing

Traditional protein-manufacturing practices are facing a major global capacity shortage for the production of biologics. Traditional methods cannot produce sufficient quantities of therapeutic proteins to meet patient population needs. Plants that can serve as protein-producing facilities can help alleviate this shortage.

In many cases it costs significantly less to grow plants with the ability to mass-produce pharmaceutical proteins because plant-based techniques do not require the same costly capital investments as other production methods. Production and cost advantages of plant-made pharmaceuticals can allow more capital to be invested in research and development of new therapeutics.

Charles Arntzen created ZMapp, the world’s most promising anti-Ebola drug, from tobacco plants.

To learn more about the science behind plant-made pharmaceuticals, please check out this short video. Your email address will not be published.


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According to De materia medica , written by the Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides in the 1st century ad , verdigris basic cupric acetate and cupric sulfate were prescribed as medicinal agents. While attempts were made to use many of the mineral preparations as drugs, most proved to be too toxic to be used in this manner.

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Many plant-derived medications employed by the ancients are still in use today. Egyptians treated constipation with senna pods and castor oil and indigestion with peppermint and caraway.

Biopharmaceuticals in Plants : Toward the Next Century of Medicine

Various plants containing digitalis -like compounds cardiac stimulants were employed to treat a number of ailments. Ancient Chinese physicians employed ma huang, a plant containing ephedrine , for a variety of purposes. Today ephedrine is used in many pharmaceutical preparations intended for the treatment of cold and allergy symptoms. The Greek physician Galen c. Today derivatives of opium alkaloids are widely employed for pain relief, and, while squill was used for a time as a cardiac stimulant, it is better known as a rat poison. Although many of the medicinal preparations used by Galen are obsolete, he made many important conceptual contributions to modern medicine.

For example, he was among the first practitioners to insist on purity for drugs.


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  8. He also recognized the importance of using the right variety and age of botanical specimens to be used in making drugs. Pharmaceutical science improved markedly in the 16th and 17th centuries. Previous to this time, medical preparations had varied in concentration and even in constituents. Other pharmacopoeias followed in Basel , Augsburg , and London The London Pharmacopoeia became mandatory for the whole of England and thus became the first example of a national pharmacopoeia.

    Another important advance was initiated by Paracelsus , a 16th-century Swiss physician-chemist.