ETS-Embryo Medium Supports the Development of Artificial Embryo Structures


Cambridge Company Cell Guidance Systems, this year announced that they have licensed a novel technology. Developed by Cambridge University researchers, the technology for the first time provides the ability to reproduce significant events that take place during the development of mouse embryos using "artificial" embryos.

ETS embryos are indistinguishable from natural embryos

Overview of ETS-Embryo Medium

The development of artificial (ETS-) embryos from co-culturing trophoblast stem cells and embryonic stem cells is supported by ETS-Embryo Medium.

A 2017 landmark study of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and trophoblast stem cells resulted in new breakthroughs in the field of stem cell research. Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz and her coworkers investigated embryonic and trophoblast stem cells - two of the earliest cell types to originate from the fertilized egg. The team discovered that when these two cells are grown together, it results in the development of artificial embryo structures called ETS-Embryos (Embryonic Trophoblast Stem Cell embryos).

These embryos bear a strong resemblance to mouse embryos in the days immediately following their implantation into the womb. The development of “ETS-Embryo Medium” to culture these two types of stem cells contributed to this success. The innovative research was featured in the 2nd March issue of Science.

Since all the genetic identity of the embryonic tissues in ETS-embryos is derived from the ESC, any embryo that is developed will be a clone of that specific cell. The extent at which the ETS-embryos can develop is yet to be determined.

Cell Guidance Systems has an exclusive license to this novel technology.

We are very happy to be working with Prof Zernicka Goetz’s lab and to be involved in this ground-breaking research. This is arguably the most significant breakthrough in stem cell science for a decade and these discoveries provide key insights into mammalian development. The potential benefits of the technology for basic research and the development of new medical therapies is very exciting.”


Dr Michael Jones, CEO of Cell Guidance Systems

Applications of ETS-embryos

The process efficiency is outstanding. Around 20% of cell clusters recognized in co-cultures of ESCs and trophoblast stem cells were ETS-embryos. This capability paves the way for novel applications, well beyond the scope of embryo studies.


ETS-embryos are ready to redefine the fields of stem cell science and embryology. Potential applications in the future include new ways to produce organs and tissues for stem cell research and also enabling research to enhance the efficiency of generating transgenic animals for research.

ETS-Embryo Medium is available only from Cell Guidance Systems.


Assembly of embryonic and extra-embryonic stem cells to mimic embryogenesis in vitro. Sarah Ellys Harrison, Berna Sozen, Neophytos Christodoulou, Christos Kyprianou and Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz (2017) Science

Last updated: Sep 14, 2017 at 6:43 AM