Understanding a B95-8 Cell Line

What is a B95-8 cell line? This cell line comes from cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oedipus) monkeys and is suitable for maintaining human lymphocyte growth.  Our cell lines are produced under sterile conditions which ensure that each of our cell lines is free of contaminants that would cause adverse effects on lymphocyte growth lines.  Viral diseases clearly infect humans by causing changes to cells in the body.  By using lymphocyte cells, researchers can investigate how these viruses effect lymphocytes and hopefully identify proteins or enzymes that can inactivate these diseases.

Lymphocytes are one type of white blood cell.  Lymphocytes differentiate into T cells and B cells.  In order to maintain a cell line, B-type lymphocytes are used.  These cells are infected with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).  This virus, EBV, is then able to induce changes to the lymphocytes that result in a cell line that can reproduce accurately indefinitely.  The resulting cell lines are useful to study how virus infect human cells and also to develop methods to stop viral infections.  Once established, a cell line using the B95-8 cell line will last for years and reproduce exactly.  Since research often takes years of development, these types of cell lines are a gift to all of us in the prevention of cancer and other viral infections.

While bacteria have been isolated and grown in laboratories since the 1800s, vaccines are a fairly new discovery in terms of microbiology.  The ability to maintain a viral culture was developed in the 1950s.  This is why vaccines for viral diseases are behind those of diseases that are caused by bacteria.  Many viruses actually can cause more than one disease; the EBV virus causes mononucleosis, but it also causes several types of lymphatic cancers.  While looking for a vaccine, researchers discovered that EBV can inactivate NK cells, resulting in long-lived lymphocyte cell lines that are often the key of new developments in viral research.  NK cells, or Natural Killer cells, are a special type of white cell that can inactivate disease processes if present in a growth medium.