Tissue culture is one of the most widespread laboratory techniques. Primary cultures may be derived from blood or tissue explants and thousands of immortalised cell lines are now available from tissue culture collections.
Cryogenically preserved cells, such as the HeLa cell line derived from the cervical carcinoma of Henrietta Lacks, have been transported to laboratories all over the world and had an outstanding impact on scientific development.
In vitro culture is a cornerstone of numerous disciplines with a diversity of applications including toxicity and drug screening, cell signalling and pathway study, developmental biology and tissue regeneration with stem cells. Successful cultivation is dependent on providing a suitable environment for the cell type in question and can vary considerably between cells from different tissue origins, whilst some cultures are adherent others cells grow as suspension cultures.
Whilst some cells lines readily adhere to a plastic culture surface other cell types may be a little more demanding and require the additional support of an extracellular matrix protein
such a collagen or gelatin to facilitate adhesion. Collagen can also be used as a supporting structure for 3D and interface cultures. Adhesion in other culture techniques may be problematic and the use of low adhesion culture ware
required for optimal results.