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Eat tumours

Fast growing unfussy animal cells for food
 
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Cancer cells are good at growing and dividing under conditions which other cells find difficult, e.g they can float about to metastasise, don't require a basal layer and can deal better with anaerobic respiration. Incidentally, correct me if I'm wrong. However, if this is true, it strikes me that they would be more productive than say a bovine skeletal muscle cell. They would need less energy, be easier to culture etc, and since one of the problems with meat production is the tropic level of the animal, a sedentary tumour using glucose and oxygen more efficiently than a gambolling lamb would get round this to some extent. Consequently vat-grown meat should be produced from tumour cells rather than ordinary body cells. This would probably mean the meat concerned lacked a fibrous structure and therefore the texture of the meat people are accustomed to eating. The carcinogenesis of ordinary cells could also be encouraged by plonking a load of nasties in the vat.
nineteenthly, Oct 27 2015

https://en.wikipedi...iki/Henrietta_Lacks [hippo, Oct 27 2015]

[link]






       If it didn’t sell enough due to poor sales, it probably wouldn’t even qualify for vat.
Ian Tindale, Oct 27 2015
  

       //vat-grown meat should be produced from tumour cells rather than ordinary body cells// Been done.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 27 2015
  

       Yes, the strange and slightly disturbing story of Henrietta Lacks (see link)... "Scientists have grown some 20 tons of her cells..."
hippo, Oct 27 2015
  

       Really [MB]? On purpose or was it a question of pushing them beyond the Hayflick Limit or something?   

       [Hippo], yes, I had her in mind. In fact in the coming sunny uplands of the utopia which is just round the corner, I envisage the whole human species to be represented entirely by parasitic tumour cells. When I'm in a good mood anyway.
nineteenthly, Oct 27 2015
  

       //On purpose or was it a question of pushing them beyond the Hayflick Limit or something. // Most cultured eukaryotic cells are tumoury - either tumour-derived, or transformed.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 27 2015
  

       I think the problem with vat grown meat is the extensive and expensive precautions one must take with these cells when isolated from the immune system that protects them from fungi. Animals have so many echelons of protection against decomposition: cells in vats have none.   

       Really the stuff to grow in vats for food is yeast. Yeast will deal with other fungi and bacteria. They do not have fussy nutritional requirements like animal cells.   

       Yes, yes.
bungston, Oct 27 2015
  

       He took another sip of the powerfully yeasty beer, and held the glass up to the light. The swirling yeast looked a lot like the dust storms that plagued the planet. Also, the yeast and the beer itself was reddish, flavored with a pinch of that same dust. The yeast loved the minerals.   

       The last drink in the glass required holding it at 45 degrees for several seconds as the clumped yeast at the bottom slid down and into his mouth. It was decent beer, but to drink Martian style it helped to be born to it. The colonists got three quarters of their protein and half their calories from this beer. Most of them had so much alcohol coming off of them that their vapor capture devices never needed sterilization. It made for shaky Martians when they travelled off world, but for the sort of physical labor required of them at home ethanol was fine fuel.   

       It was his second week Marsside, so his liver was probably in second gear by now. He pushed his glass forward for a refill. Bread in a bottle!
bungston, Oct 27 2015
  

       I like, reminds me of something else posted here perhaps by you, [bungston] - have you got a novel in the works? If not, maybe you should have.   

       What about operating theatre-like conditions? Presumably that'd work for a while. Or loads of antibodies against likely offenders in the dish?
nineteenthly, Oct 27 2015
  

       It's not particularly hard to culture human cells. HeLa cells are easy - you just need a flask with a stirrer, sterile and with a cotton-wool bung, and some culture medium which contains essential salts, amino acids etc; it's usually supplemented with foetal calf serum which provides various growth factors, though FCS-free media exist. All at 37°C, obviously.   

       You could probably bulk-grow HeLa cells for a few dollars a litre, or maybe less, if it were done industrially.   

       If I remember correctly (it's been a couple of decades), you grow them up to about 10^6 or 10^7/ml. That's maybe 1-2ml of packed cells per litre of culture medium, so you'd need several hundred litres of culture to give you a kilo of goop.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 27 2015
  

       Out of interest, is there evidence that results from studies performed on HeLa cells (which are weird and tumorous) are transferable to normal cells?
hippo, Oct 27 2015
  

       // Bread in a bottle! //   

       The ancient Egyptians produced beer by sealing bread in a pottery jar and letting it ferment.   

       They also ate huge amounts of onions.   

       Interestingly, they also built a great many open-plan buildings with lots of free ventilation ...
8th of 7, Oct 27 2015
  

       // [bungston] - have you got a novel in the works? If not, maybe you should have.//   

       Totally. I'd read more of that.   

       //Animals have so many echelons of protection against decomposition: cells in vats have none. //   

       Hmm. Maybe some sort of lymphoma - then it could protect itself.   

       To be honest, I'm not sure HeLa cells are the way to go for human consumption. Regardless of whether it's officially cannibalism, I suspect it would create an unnecessary additional 'yuck factor' for the average consumer. It's not like cows, sheep or pigs never get cancer.
Loris, Oct 27 2015
  

       (marked-for-tagline)   

       " Incidentally, correct me if I'm wrong "
normzone, Oct 27 2015
  

       // It's not like cows, sheep or pigs never get cancer //   

       They do, but it's rare - the reason being they don't live long enough.   

       Juvenile animals tend to suffer from extremely aggressive cancers that kill them quickly. Apart from that, cancer is a disease of old age. Dogs get cancer because in human homes they live up to five times as long as they would in the wild. Humans live two to three times as long as the estimated lifespan of early hominids, based on skeletal remains.   

       Cancer isn't a major cause of mortality in wild populations (apart from abberant cases like the unfortunate Tasmanian Devil, where it's caused by a virus) because the moment a wild animal gets a bit slow and off the top line, something else generally eats it.   

       Elephants would be interesting as, by and large, as adults they have no natural predators.
8th of 7, Oct 27 2015
  

       //Elephants would be interesting as, by and large, as adults they have no natural predators.//   

       Which reminds me - Sturton says hello. He is definitely natural; at least, nobody would set out to make something like him on purpose.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 27 2015
  

       //Dogs get cancer because in human homes they live up to five times as long as they would in the wild. [...]
... like the unfortunate Tasmanian Devil, where it's caused by a virus//
  

       Actually, no. Devil facial tumour disease is caused by transmission of cancer cells. Check the wikipedia article if you don't believe me. Read the scientific papers if you don't believe wikipedia.
Interestingly, there's an infectious cancer of dogs (Canine transmissible venereal tumor) too.
  

       0/2 - must try harder.
Loris, Oct 27 2015
  

       //[MB] gets thrown into a gorge.// Because why? Admittedly, I'd have guessed that Devil facial tumours were viral, but I don't think I said that...   

       There are definitely some known viral cancers (for instance, HPV can trigger cervical cancer). I'd bet that there are also some others waiting to be discovered. But most cancers aren't viral.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 27 2015
  

       I thought the score on Henrietta Slacks was up to several million tons? Possibly taking the bbw aesthetic a little too far?
not_morrison_rm, Oct 27 2015
  

       Well, let's see. I probably grew 100 grams of Henrietta Lacks (pelleted cell mass) back in the day during a 3yr PhD. There were probably ten or so other people in my department using HeLa cells, so say a kilo over three years.   

       Assume that HeLa cells were used from (guessing) the 1970's onward. That would be maybe 15kg of HeLa in one smallish university department.   

       Guesstimate 3 such departments in the university. That's about 50kg. Times that by maybe 100 to account for other universities and research institutes in the UK, and you're up to maybe 5 tons.   

       Assuming the UK is 5% of worldwide research, you're up to about 100 tons of Henrietta in toto. Maybe 1000 tons max.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 27 2015
  

       There are a couple of citations in the Wikipedia article for the "20 tons" estimate but it's probably all guesswork.
hippo, Oct 28 2015
  

       I liked it better when they grew hamburger in a petri dish.
travbm, Oct 29 2015
  
      
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