I am looking for the most inexpensive way to culture hybridoma cells in serum free conditions. I am starting with classic media, is there anything that is serum free that I can add to classic media to allow for serum free culture or do I need to use a pre-made serum free medium for hybridoma cells.

Answer

Moving cells from serum-containing to serum-free media is not so easy since adaptation is required. To my knowledge there are no additives such as a non-animal derived substitute that can be added to a basel (classic) medium that will make it perform like a serum containing medium. For your information there are media such as D-MEM or RPMI-1640 which are used for hybridoma culture, that have modified formulations (Advanced-DMEM or Advanced-RPMI1640 from GIbco for example) that work very well for hybridoma culture using only 2% FBS this could reduce your cost somewhat without losses in performance. SInce you asked specifically about the expense of hybridoma culturing…I think about several issues when I think about cost. First, a bottle of D-MEM supplemented with 10% FBS might cost $40-$50 (currently the cost of serum is low) compared to a serum-free medium such as Gibcos PFHM II, Hybridoma-SFM or CD-Hybridoma which might range from $70-$80. (If the cost of serum gets higher then the price gap decreases further). The cost increase for using a serum-free media is in my mind, is a small price to pay for the many resulting benefits. Second, all of the serum-free media designed for hybridoma culture out-perform when compared to classic media in terms of cell growth, viability and MAb production. third, using a serum-free medium make for much easier downstream purification of your product and finally if you are making your MAbs for diagnostic or clinical work the regulatory hurdles may be simplified.