The preclinical studies in life science research involve the use of animals which is time consuming, expensive and also leads to suffering of that animal. The environmentalists and animal lovers have raised concerns with animal’s usage in scientific research and experiments and a number of laws also have also been proposed to limit the animal usage in research. This has forced researchers to find alternatives to not only decrease the number of animals used and also increase humanity towards animals. The major alternatives for in vivo animal testing include in vitro cell cultures and in silico computer simulation. The advancements made in culture techniques have made cell lines an easy way to study almost every topic related to health and disease.
The cell lines are powerful tool in experimental studies as growing cells in dishes is an easy system. Cells can be easily grown, the number of cells can be easily optimized with the size experiment, and they can be grown in small containers at the work bench. The much great science experiments have been performed using immortalized cell lines; however some shortcomings are also associated with it. Continuous cell lines are cell type with distinct features. Not only their physiology, the way the cells communicate with each other, and even their genotypes change with continuous subculture. In some experiments, their use is preferred when variability and comparison to normal tissues are not a concern otherwise it is important to choose cell lines with phenotypes as close as possible to the in vivo target.
The use of primary cells in research can avoid shortcomings associated with immortalized cell lines. Primary cells are cells derived directly from a donor organism. These cells have short life span that ensures genotypic and phenotypic stability. The primary cells hold potential to deliver more relevant and meaningful data from experiments as these cells are closest to the “real thing”. The employment of primary cultures in research eliminates some of the inconsistencies between experiments using immortalized lines. Nowadays, a wide range of the primary cell lines from various animal and human tissues are established and available to researchers and biotech enterprises to enable the research accurately. The proper functional cell models can replace the unnecessary use of laboratory animals and reduce the animal experiments.