Cultivated mammalian cells have become the dominant system for the production of recombinant proteins for clinical applications because of their capacity for proper protein folding, assembly and post-translational modification. Thus, the quality and efficacy of a protein can be superior when expressed in mammalian cells versus other hosts such as bacteria, plants and yeast. Recently, the productivity of mammalian cells cultivated in bioreactors has reached the gram per liter range in a number of cases, a more than 100-fold yield improvement over titers seen for similar processes in the mid-1980s. This increase in volumetric productivity has resulted mainly from improvements in media composition and process control. Opportunities still exist for improving mammalian cell systems through further advancements in production systems as well as through vector and host cell engineering.