Free growth factors for optimization studies

Organoid culture requires high purity growth factors and cytokines

Performing growth factor optimizations can be time-consuming but ensuring an optimal set of growth-factors allows for more consistent and homogenous cell cultures.
Optimizing the amount of cytokines used (while maintaining results) can save huge sums of money in the long run.
At Qkine, we want to help labs optimize their protocols without using up your precious grant funding, so we are offering free optimization packs of up to 5 growth factors (up to 100 µg/product) to perform growth factor-related projects.
In return, we would request a short summary of your optimization study along with the data, which we can use for marketing purposes.

At a glance

Sign up now for an opportunity to receive up to 500 µg of growth factors for free.

Benefits for the lab
  • Optimize media, save research budget and achieve better results
  • Up to 500 µg of free growth factors and cytokines

Qkine growth factor optimization project terms & conditions

1 Participation in the ‘Free growth factors for optimization studies’ is free of charge and not linked to a purchase obligation and/or use of services

2 By submitting data to Qkine, reviewers are representing that they are not prohibited by their institution or employment contracts, or any other obligation, from accepting free of charge product or compensation for comments, data and/or images submitted.

3 Qkine reserves the right to modify these terms and conditions at any time without prior notice

4 Distributors and resellers of Qkine products are not eligible for the program.

5 Offer void where prohibited, licensed, or restricted by federal, state, provincial, or local laws or regulation or agency/institutional policy.

6 Other restrictions may apply.

7 Please refer to our privacy statement for how we will handle and process your data.

Version: Sep 09, 2022

How to apply

Fill in this form to register your interest.
We will contact successful applicants to find out what growth factors you need.
If you have any queries please contact

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What to test

You decide! As long as they are part of our catalogue, you can choose which 5 growth factors you’d like to test in an optimization study of your choice.

If you need some inspiration, below are some ideas relating to FGF-2 (basic FGF / bFGF) – there are so many options for FGF-2 that it makes for a great focus. Our FGF-2 range includes: human FGF-2 (145aa)human FGF-2 (154aa)FGF2-G3 (145aa)FGF2-G3 (154aa), zebrafish FGF2mouse FGF-2, and bovine/porcine FGF-2.

Idea 1. Is the short half-life of FGF-2 impacting cell fate?

FGF-2 has a bioactive half-life of less than 10 hours. Even with daily media changes, the level of FGF2 signalling in media fluctuates substantially. FGF2-G3 is a thermostable form of FGF-2 with a bioactive half-life of over 7 days. Could a more consistent level of FGF-2 signalling allow for more homogeneous cultures?

Suggested conditions:
  1. WT FGF-2
  2. FGF2-G3

Idea 2. Does the protein length of human FGF-2 impact cell growth?

Human FGF-2 is typically available in two lengths – 145 aa or 154 aa. Researchers’ rationale for using one form over the other is often based on prior use rather than definitive data. Is there a biological impact of using one form over the other?

We manufacture the stabilised FGF2-G3 in both 145 aa and 154 aa lengths to allow for direct comparisons with your preferred protein length. These alternative forms could be included in your investigation to determine if the 145 aa out-preforms the 154 aa (or vice-versa) in both the WT and stabilised forms.

Idea 3. Try weekend-free!

B8 hiPSC media, developed in the Burridge lab at Northwestern University, is growing in popularity thanks to its cost-effective and weekend-free credentials. Why not compare B8 media with your current hiPSC media to see if your cells can be maintained as efficiently while giving you the weekends off!

We suggest trying both the published B8 recipe and a modified versions with a higher concentration of TGF-β1/3 (1 or 2 ng/ml) as our customers have reported this improves expression of pluripotency markers.

Suggested conditions:
  1. Your current iPSC media
  2. B8 media
  3. B8 media, high TGF beta (1 or 3)
  4. Your current iPSC media using thermostable FGF2-G3

Idea 4. Does species specificity matter?

Zebrafish FGF-2 is commonly used in human cell culture, but do human cells react differently to zebrafish FGF-2 when compared to human FGF-2? Bovine/porcine FGF-2 is 99% similar to human FGF-2, and mouse FGF-2 is 94% similar. Does this evolutionary divergence affect cellular response to the protein?

Novel engineered forms (like FGF2-G3), while based on human FGF-2, have more differences from human sequence than some other species. FGF2-G3 has 9 amino acid differences from the human FGF2 sequence. In comparison, only 2 of the 155 amino acids are different in bovine/porcine and human FGF-2. ‘Species neutral’ forms like this could also be compared.

Suggested conditions:
  1. Human FGF2 (145aa or 154aa)
  2. Zebrafish FGF2
  3. Bovine/porcine FGF2
  4. Mouse FGF2

Idea 5. Could you use less growth factor?

Are you using more growth factor that you need to? Why not perform a concentration dilution experiment to find out if your cells perform equally well with different concentrations of cytokines. Growth factors are, after all, the most expensive component of media. Optimizing growth factor concentrations could save a lot of money in the long run.

Suggested conditions:

Varying concentrations of your cytokines eg 40 ng/ml, 20 ng/ml, 10 ng/ml and 5 ng/ml of FGF2-G3


Key papers

Dvorak et al. 2018

development of FGF2-G3 form using AI

Koledova et al. 2019

assessment of FGF2-G3 stability and signalling

Kuo et al. 2020

development of B8 media – low cost, weekend free iPSC media

Lyra-Leite et al. 2021

updated protocol for B8 media

Benington et al. 2020

nice review of FGF2 stability and stabilisation methods


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Guidance and troubleshooting on cell culture

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Best practice on how to handle your growth factors