Gibco® Essential 8™ Medium is the most defined and consistent stem cell culture system. It is a feeder-free, xeno-free medium originally developed in the laboratory of pluripotent stem cell research pioneer James Thomson that contains only the eight essential components needed to grow and expand pluripotent stem cells.

Recently, Essential 8™ Medium has been optimized for a wide variety of different applications to give researchers ultimate control over their PSC culture systems.

New Essentail 8 Flex Medium

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Researcher quote

"Essential 8™ Medium does exactly what you need it do. And because it is so simple, it can be made in a more controlled way." Emile Nuwaysir, Ph.D., Cellular Dynamics International


Why 8?

Many feeder-free stem cell media contain 20 or more components in their formulations.  While these media may adequately grow and maintain pluripotent stem cells, they also contain many variables and lot-to-lot inconsistencies are common.

Proven to maintain pluripotency in multiple iPSC lines, Essential 8™ Medium has been used to scale up production of iPSCs, and shown to support iPSC growth for >50 passages with no signs of karyotypic abnormalities; along with maintaining the ability of iPSCs to differentiate into all three germ line lineages.

By removing highly undefined proteins and components such as BSA, and including only the ingredients necessary for pluripotent stem cell culture, Essential 8™ Medium minimizes variability in culture. Additionally, Essential 8™ Medium, like all Gibco® media, is the only feeder-free pluripotent stem cell medium manufactured under cGMP conditions; a further safeguard against lot-to-lot variability that minimizes the risk of variable outcomes and unintended cell differentiation.    

The Essential 8™ Media system and accompanying reagents provide the most defined and consistent culture conditions for pluripotent stem cells. Each of the recommended reagents across the following workflow is defined and  xenofree, allowing for consistent results every time. Below is an example of a workflow advancing from reprogramming to differentiation utilizing the Essential 8 Media system.

iPSC Morphology

iPSC Morphology - iPSCs cultured in Essential 8™ medium on vitronectin at P4.

Staining - Tra-1-60 staining of iPSCs cultured in Essential 8™ medium on vitronectin at P13.

Staining - Tra-1-60 staining of iPSCs cultured in Essential 8™ medium on vitronectin at P13.

CDI Data

iPSCs grown on Essential 8™ Medium maintain pluripotency and retain normal karyotype. CDI iPSC line shown here at p18 on Essential 8™ Medium and Vitronectin.


Where would you like to gain control? Compare Essential 8 for different applications.

PSC maintenance and expansion Essential 8 Medium
  • Consistent – no BSA reducing variability compared to existing feeder-free culture media
  • Cost effective – economical and scalable PSC culture compared to other feeder-free media
  • Robust – reliable and consistent cultures with a xeno-free, cGMP defined medium
Flexible feeding schedule Essential 8 Flex Medium
  • Eliminate daily feeding  - Stabilized FGF2 enables maintenance of pluripotency over a 2-day period without feeding cells and without adjustments to your typical culture protocol
  • Easy to transition – Same set-up, applications, and protocol as the original Essential 8 formulations
  • Proven - Based on the original Essential 8™ formulation, maintains pluripotency and normal karyotypes in long-term culture
Embryoid body formation and differentiation Essential 6™ Medium
  • Flexibility – provides a flexible format where the levels of TGFB and bFGF can be adjusted
  • Supported embryoid body formation – does not contain bFGF which inhibits embryoid body formation and differentiation
  • Increased reprogramming efficiency – does not contain TFGB which has a negative effect on reprogramming efficiency
Stressful events
Essential 8 Medium + RevitaCell Supplement
  • Minimize the impact of stress – RevitaCell Supplement supports cells in stressful applications through a more specific ROCK inhibitor
  • Non-addictive – Shown to have a non-addictive impact on downstream cell utility unlike other ROCK inhibitors
  • Expanded applications – Enabling use of Essential 8 medium in applications where cells need additional support
Minimize the impact of stress – RevitaCell Supplement supports cells in stressful applications through a more specific ROCK inhibitor
Non-addictive – Shown to have a non-addictive impact on downstream cell utility unlike other ROCK inhibitors
Expanded applications – Enabling use of Essential 8 medium in applications where cells need additional support

Essential 8 Flex Medium - Take back control of your weekends and eliminate daily feeding

Flexible feeding schedule with healthy cells and robust differentiation potential

Essential 8™ Flex Medium is a serum-free, xeno-free medium that supports the culture and expansion of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) while eliminating the need for daily feeding schedules (Figure 3).  Just like the original Essential 8™ Medium formulation, the Essential 8 Flex Medium does not include BSA (bovine serum albumin) or HSA (human serum albumin) components minimizing batch variability and maintaining long term health and pluripotency of PSCs (Figure 4-6).

Essential 8 flex---competitive workflow graphic

essential 8 flex medium

Figure 3. FGF2 activity over time in PSC culture medium. Unlike other feeder-free PSC culture media, Essential 8 Flex Medium has been optimized to extend the activity of unstable components such as FGF2. Extended activity allows for routine culture without the daily feeding.

cells cultured in Essential 8 Flex medium

Figure 4. Long-term stability of cells cultured in Essential 8 Flex medium.  Healthy karyotypes of pluripotent stem cells cultured in Essential 8 Flex medium have been observed after long term culture of cells.

NEW Application: Single cell passaging using Essential 8™ Medium

Essential 8™ Medium has been optimized for single cell passaging PSCs in combination with RevitaCell™ Supplement. Together, this system minimizes the impact of stress from single cell passaging – enabling maximum cell viability and providing more efficient recovery of cells while retaining normal morphology, pluripotency, and karyotype.

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Recommended Matrices

Vitronectin (VTN-N) Recombinant Human Protein, Truncated provides a defined surface for feeder-free culture of human PSCs. As demonstrated in the James Thomson lab, the VTN-N variant of vitronectin supports human pluripotent stem cell attachment and survival better than wild-type vitronectin when used in conjunction with Essential 8™ Medium.

Geltrex™ LDEV-Free, hESC-Qualified, Reduced Growth Factor Basement Membrane Matrix is routinely used for attachment and maintenance of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) to help ensure growth and pluripotency.

Most Defined and Consistent PSC System


Related products

The Essential 8™ Media system and accompanying reagents provide the most defined and consistent culture conditions for pluripotent stem cells. Each of the recommended reagents across the following workflow is defined and  xenofree, allowing for consistent results every time. Below is an example of a workflow advancing from reprogramming to differentiation utilizing the Essential 8 Media system.

essential 6

CytoTune®-iPS 2.0  Sendai Reprogramming Kit contains a polycistronic vector which offers an increased reprogramming efficiency up to 1.2%

essential 8

Essential 8™ Medium contains only the 8 necessary components needed for stem cell culture enabling more consistent culture

psc

PSC Cryopreservation Kit contains a xeno-free, ready-to-use cryopreservation medium and a chemically defined recovery supplement, RevitaCell™ Supplement, that consistently recovers 50% more viable cells post-thaw

essential 6

Essential 6™ Medium does not contain bFGF which is used to prevent differentiation and maintain pluripotency

For research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures. Essential 8 and Essential 6 are trademarks of Cellular Dynamics International, Inc.