Ask A Scientist: What’s the Difference Between Primary and Immortalized Cells?

While most researchers today prefer primary cells for immunology, inflammation, and vaccination experiments due to the close match to in vivo function, immortalized cell lines still have advantages and preferred use cases. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two cell types.

Understanding the Difference

Primary cells are isolated directly from a human donor or animal tissue and undergo very limited handling or manipulation to preserve their original characteristics and functions.

Immortalized cells are passaged or modified to proliferate indefinitely, making them convenient, although not biologically relevant, tools for biological experimentation.

Difference between primary and immortalized cells

Available Primary & Immortalized Cells

Primary cells and immortalized cells are both widely available in our inventory. While most of our cell products are primary, we do have several immortalized cells available.

The only true immortalized cells in our catalog are:

We also have several cell types that are cultured but not genetically altered in any way. These cells are tested to confirm normal, expected function:

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