Bioreactors play a key role in the field of biologics, where they are used for the production of recombinant therapeutic proteins by large-scale cultivation of animal cells. There are several types of bioreactors, including stirred-tank, airlift, hollow-fiber, and Rotary Cell Culture System (RCCS) designs. The stirred-tank bioreactor is one of the most commonly used types, and is used both for industrial applications and laboratory research. The RCCS, invented by NASA, is increasingly used in the area of tissue engineering for medical purposes. Important improvements have been made in the design of traditional bioreactors, and new types of bioreactor are also being developed such as Couette-Taylor bioreactor, multifunctional-membrane bioreactor, and shaking bioreactor. Work is also progressing on techniques to improve the performance of bioreactors, including perfusion culture, the use of microcarriers, and methods of suppressing apoptosis and of monitoring cell growth in real time. Given the demand for the production by animal cells for use in the growing number of clinical applications, further advances in bioreactor technology can be expected during the next few years. Two main goals will be pursued: firstly, to increase output by high density cultivation of animal cells to produce high value protein pharmaceutics or viral vectors for clinical gene therapy; and secondly, to create a three-dimension space similar to that of an in vivo environment to regenerate tissue or organ and to reproduce valuable cells that are hard to culture in the traditional culture system.
Keywords: bioreactor, cell culture, large-scale, tissue engineering, high density cultivation, three-dimension space, stem cell, protein therapeutics
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