Tissue culture: the unrealized potential

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Lack of differentiated functions of the tissue of origin in tissue culture thought to be due to dedifferentiation was shown to be due to selective overgrowth of fibroblasts. Enrichment culture techniques, (alternate animal and culture passage), designed to give the functionally differentiated cells selective advantage over the fibroblasts resulted in a large number of functionally differentiated clonal strains. Thus the dogma of dedifferentiation was destroyed. It is proposed to substitute the dedifferentiation hypothesis with the hypothesis that cells in culture accurately represent cells in vivo without the complex in vivo environment. With the development of hormonally defined media, combined with functionally differentiated clonal cell lines, the potential of tissue culture studies is greatly augmented. Hormonal responses and dependencies can be discovered in culture and the discovery of dependencies of cancer cells has led to a new rationale for therapy.

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