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9 Applications of Animal Cell Culture

Animal cell culture has been one of the most important tools for biomedical and clinical research. In this article, we discuss 9 applications of animal cell culture: (1) Model Systems (2) Toxicity Testing (3) Cell-Based Manufacturing (4) Drug Screening and Development (5) Cancer Research (6) Virology (7) Genetic Engineering (8) Gene Therapy and (9) Stem Cell Therapy.

Model Systems

Animal cell culture provides a great model system for studying basic cell biology and metabolism. Animal cell culture has been used as 2D and 3D culture models in research for various experiments related to drug or infectious agent studies.

Toxicity Testing

Animal cell cultures are widely used to prevent animal testing for toxicity testing of new drugs, chemicals, and cosmetics. Major animal cell cultures used in this domain are Kidney- and liver-derived cell cultures.

Cell-based Manufacturing

Animal cell cultures can be used for the large-scale production of viruses to be used in vaccine production. This strategy has been used for various vaccines like polio, rabies, measles, chickenpox, and hepatitis B.

Other than virus production, animal cell culture can be used for the production of genetically modified products for medical and commercial value. The types of products can be monoclonal Abs, insulin, hormones, etc.

Drug Screening and Development

In the pharmaceutical industry, animal cell culture-based assays have become increasingly im­portant. They are used not only for toxicity but also for high throughput drug screening. For more info, read this article

Cancer Research

Animal cell cultures have been used for biomarker and molecular studies in oncology research. Moreover, cancer cells in culture can also serve as drug testing models for several anticancer compounds. Recent studies in cancer look forward to selectively kill cancer cells in a population mixed with normal primary cells.


Animal cell culture has been used in the replication of viruses to bypass the use of animal models. These replicated viruses can be used for vaccine production or basic virus isolation and research.

Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering revolves around the idea of reprogramming genes to produce new proteins. Transfection is the ability to induce new genetic material in cells. Animal cell cultures can be used for transfection to produce new proteins in large quantities for clinical study or therapeutic purposes.

Gene Therapy

As we know animal cell cultures can be used for genetic engineering, these engineered cells can be also be used for therapy. Cells can be removed from a patient and can be replaced by engineered cells having the desired functional gene. An alternative approach is to add the missing gene in the patient’s cells using a viral vector.

Stem Cell Therapy

Animal cell cultures of stem cells, especially mesenchymal and hematopoietic stem cells, have been used for stem cell therapy applications and stem cell research. Animal cell cultures of somatic cells have also been used in induced pluripotent stem cell research.

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