What are Primary Cells?

Primary cells are cells taken directly from living tissue (e.g. biopsy material) and established for growth in vitro.  These cells have undergone very few population doublings and are therefore more representative of the main functional component of the tissue from which they are derived in comparison to continuous (tumor or artificially immortalized) cell lines thus representing a more representative model to the in vivo state. 

Primary cells from different species may be used, allowing you to highlight potential differences between humans and preclinical test species. Before in vivo studies mouse or rat cells can be used  to refine doses and reduce the number of animals required for preclinical toxicology. Human cells can be used to determine accuracy of extrapolating human data from an animal model.

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