Answer to Question #111764 in Cell Biology for MAKHUOGA ALFRED FRIDAY

Question #111764
4. Keeping in mind the relationship between structure and function, discuss the potential uses of artificial cells and/or cell like materials and whether you consider them to be a good substitute for the natural versions.
Expert's answer

Artificial cells have attracted much attention as substitutes for natural cells. There are many different forms of artificial cells with many different definitions. They can be integral biological cell imitators with cell-like structures and exhibit some of the key characteristics of living cells. Alternatively, they can be engineered materials that only mimic some of the properties of cells, such as surface characteristics, shapes, morphology, or a few specific functions. These artificial cells can have applications in many fields from medicine to environment, and may be useful in constructing the theory of the origin of life. However, even the simplest unicellular organisms are extremely complex and synthesis of living artificial cells from inanimate components seems very daunting. Nevertheless, recent progress in the formulation of artificial cells ranging from simple protocells and synthetic cells to cell-mimic particles, suggests that the construction of living life is now not an unrealistic goal. 

The applications of artificial cells are now common in scientific research of:

1) chronic renal failure,

2) drug poisoning,

3) aluminium and iron removal,

4) fulminant hepatic failure,

5) immunosorbent for direct blood perfusion,

6) enzyme therapy and metabolic function replacement,

7) immobilized cell cultures for Bioartificial Organs,

8) blood substitutes,

9) microencapsulation,

10) biotechnology and other areas.

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