Synthetic cells (cell mimics, or artificial cells) can be defined as artificial cell-like structural systems that constructed by inserting biological or synthetic molecules inside and on the surface of polymer or lipid. They generally mimic one or more properties of living cells, including structure, function, interactions, and others. Synthetic cells can be assembled either in a "bottom-up" manner from defined synthetic components or in a "semi-synthetic" manner from a combination of synthetic and cell-derived components. Thus, synthetic cells can have properties and components not found in living systems, which significantly increases their potential value.
In biotechnological applications, synthetic cells are useful models of protocells, especially when they are built with primitive membrane forming compounds, and host compounds and reactive systems of primitive importance. Synthetic cells can also perform tasks that living cells cannot, such as utilizing non-natural and toxic molecules, endowing them with unique advantages in terms of stability and functions in the body. In addition, synthetic cells can be used to reconstruct biological processes of interest in cell-like architecture. Reconstructing a certain process in a synthetic cell make it easier to understand the process, because the interfering “noise” of background cellular processes, such as unnecessary interactions with other components, can be purposely removed. And, through the control of synthetic cell composition, the process can be finely tuned in a way that is not possible in living cells. In biomedical applications, synthetic cells can be considered as an intermediate between passive nanoparticle drug delivery systems and engineered living cell therapies. Compared to nanoparticles, synthetic cells generally contain many more unique components. This greater complexity makes them more capable than nanoparticles but more difficult to manufacture and control. Compared to living cells, synthetic cells are much simpler and well-defined. Living cells are inherently unpredictable, especially when faced with the wide diversity of environments in human physiology. While synthetic cells are assembled from known components, so they are better defined and more predictable. Therefore, synthetic cells have considerable safety advantages over living cells in treatment. Additionally, manufacturing of synthetic cells promises certain advantages over the manufacturing of engineered living cell therapies. Synthetic cells can be generated at centralized facilities, lyophilized or otherwise preserved, and shipped to hospitals, much like current biotherapeutics. Their manufacturing is scalable through microfluidics and can be generalized across different indications and compositions.
Amerigo Scientific offers high-precision, stable, cost-effective synthetic cell products for the controls in flow cytometry and development of diagnostics and cell therapeutics. The optical, biochemical, and biophysical properties of these synthetic cells can be tuned to match specific states, making them indistinguishable from the actual target cells.
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