We have been working to reduce serum in our stem cell culture while maintaining pluripotent characteristics. Our standard media contains 10% FBS and we have not been able to reduce this amount successfully without the culture suffering. We recently were able to use human serum instead at 1.25% while maintaining similar pluripotent characteristics. However, we have concerns about adopting a process that uses human serum in a potential human therapy. Do you have any recommendations on supplements that might work to help us reduce the FBS down to a similar level as what we have achieved when using human serum?

Answer

The gold standard for feeder-dependent culture of pluripotent stem cells is KnockOutTM SR (serum replacement) containing media and the use of FBS is becoming less and less common. The added advantage of using this system is that in addition to robust culture system of ESC and iPSCs, KnockOutTM SR Xenofree enables culture of cells in media containing human derived and human recombinant proteins. This media and has been successfully used for the derivation and expansion of hiPSC {Rodriguez-Piza et al., Stem Cells (2010) 28, 36-44}.
In addition, several feeder-free media systems are also available as xeno-free formulations. For more information on different media options for pluripotent stem cells, click on the link below: http://www.lifetechnologies.com/us/en/home/life-science/stem-cell-research/induced-pluripotent-stem-cells/ipsc-selection-expansion.html