Columbia University

Technology Ventures

Method to derive anterior foregut endoderm from pluripotent cells

Technology #cu13141

Pluripotent stem cells can be induced to differentiate into various types of cell and tissue. The fate of induced cells depends on the exact stimulus it receives. Research is ongoing to optimize the conditions needed to differentiate stem cells into the many types of tissues people have. This technology describes a detailed in vitro method to induce the differentiation of embryonic stem cells into definitive endoderm cells, and then onto anterior foregut endoderm cells. By describing detailed in vitro methods for cell differentiation, this technology provides a useful tool to study tissue development, provide assays for drug discovery, and also for advancing cell replacement therapies.

Method to induce pluripotent cells to differentiate into anterior foregut endoderm cells, which can then be differentiated into lung, esophagus and trachea tissue

This technology details a method for differentiating stem cells into anterior foregut endoderm cells, which can then be differentiated into lung, esophageal or tracheal tissue. This technology could potentially aid in developing patient-specific cell types for cell replacement therapies for these types of tissues. Successful development of such strategies could mitigate the host-rejection problems normally associated with foreign cell types. This technology also allows for anterior foregut endoderm cells to be derived with at least 50% yield, allowing for robust use in research and cell studies.

The purity and efficacy of anterior foregut differentiation was demonstrated in cell culture using human embryonic stem cells.

Lead Inventor:

Hans-Willem Snoeck, MD Ph.D.


  • Generation of anterior foregut cell from pluripotent stem cells.
  • Anterior foregut cells can be induced into lung, esophagus and trachea tissues.
  • Differentiated tissues can be used to study tissue development, drug discovery and for cell replacement therapies.


  • High rate of yield for generating anterior foregut cell populations.
  • Large potential range of cell differentiation endpoints allows for diverse array of possible studies

Patent Information:

Patent Pending (WO/2011/139628)

Tech Ventures Reference: IR CU13141

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