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3R-Project 87-03

Information on serum free cell lines, an interactive database

Claudio Strebel
CePower GmbH, Einsiedlerstrasse 29, Wädenswil, 8820 Switzerland

Keywords: cell cultures: serum free; cell cultures: serum free; data base; reduction; refinement; replacement

Duration: 2 years Project Completion: 2006

Background and Aim
Serum is commonly used as a supplement to cell culture media. The most widely used animal serum is derived from fetal bovines (FBS). Serum provides a broad spectrum of macromolecules involved in growth, attachment, maintenance of metabolic competence and structure of the cells. However, sera are in general ill-defined components in cell culture media and accordingly reduce the reproducibility of the cell culture experiments (inter-laboratory comparisons). In addition, ethical concerns have been raised about the harvesting of serum and the need for bovine fetuses. In terms of the 3Rs, it is desirable to decrease the need for bovine fetuses in the future and to increases the reproducibility of cell culture type work. The production of a database in which available cell lines,adapted to serum-free and/or protein-free media are registered and available for public use, will be one approach in achieving this.

Method and Results
The interactive database SEFREC on-line since April 2006, includes available cell lines, which have been adapted to serum-free and/or protein-free media. In addition to information about the cell line, there will also be references to possible registered processes relating to the respective cells. With such information, the registration process could be simplified and completed more quickly. The principle of the interactive data base is to encourage change in relation to serum-free media. All information in the data base can be sourced by links to the origin data.
Data sources include specialized newspapers, congresses, workshops, information from the medium suppliers and from research groups. The collected data is compiled and digitized in a special data collection program. On conclusion of the official data input, the data is transferred, controlled and compiled in the data base.The links are activated to the respective sources of information and an input window is opened for new data. The data base is free of charge for registered persons.The selected information can be transferred in a word or excel sheet. An example of an input window see figure 1.
The data base SEFREC is available at . Industry and research groups are invited to place latest information about their products and keep the data base up to date. At the moment, 47 international members present more than 500 serum free medias and 32 serum free available cell lines. In the framework of a european network, this database might become the primary neutral source for informations about serum free cultures in life sciences.
Information about the data bank and maintenance please contact Claudio Strebel by Email:

Conclusions and Relevance for 3R
Become a member of SEFREC!
The free interactive data base, is a meaningful possibility for the systematic collection of information on cell lines and their serum-free media worldwide. Two targets could be achieved: Reducing the consumption of serum in cell biology media which increases the reproducibility of cell culture systems by using chemically defined media and to reduce the collection of serum from animals, which is often an animal welfare issue..


Figure 1
Figure 1: Home page of SEFREC