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Growing Cells: How and Why?

October 15th, 2014

All of the tissues within the human body are comprised of individual cells. These building blocks of life are the very foundation of our existence. On occasion, they may cease to function properly or become damaged. In this case, additional cells may need to be harvested and grown within clinical settings. How does this take place?

Collecting the Cells

In general, cells will be taken from the part of the body that has become damaged or diseased. An example of this can be seen in the harvesting of bone marrow cells to treat leukaemia. However, only a small number of cells can be extracted at any specific time. This is the reason that these (and any other) cells will need to be taken into the laboratory and carefully cultured.

Growing More Cells

Once the cells are removed from living tissue, they are transported into laboratory settings. Through rather complicated scientific procedures, they are induced to replicate. Once the number reaches an agreeable level, they can then be grafted onto existing tissue. However, this is not necessarily the case with stem cells. Generally, these special types are stored within a freezer and then transfused into the bloodstream of a patient.

Why is all of this work necessary? The primary reason is that as a rule, a certain number of cells will fail to achieve the desired results. Thus, greater numbers will help to increase the chances of an effective treatment. As cell growth and replication are still within relatively early stages of research, it is likely that these procedures will become more advanced over time.