Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New genomic sequencing method enables 'smarter' anaysis of individual cells

23.07.2012
Applications include studying single cells that form malignant tumors

Only by viewing a Seurat painting at close range can you appreciate the hidden complexities of pointillism – small, distinct dots of pure color applied in patterns to form an image from a distance. Similarly, biologists and geneticists have long sought to analyze profiles of genes at the single cell level but technology limitations have only allowed a view from afar until now.

Research published in the July 22 issue of Nature Biotechnology, shows for the first time that a novel genomic sequencing method called Smart-Seq can help scientists conduct in-depth analyses of clinically relevant single cells. Smart-Seq has many possible applications, including helping scientists to better understand the complexities of tumor development. This is vitally important as many clinically important cells exist only in small numbers and require single cell analysis. The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, the University of California, San Diego and Illumina Inc.

"While our results are preliminary, we showed that it is possible to do studies of individual, clinically relevant cells," says biomedical scientist Rickard Sandberg, researcher at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and principal investigator at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Karolinska Institutet. "Cancer researchers around the world will now be able to analyze these cells more systematically to enable them to produce better methods of diagnosis and therapy in the future."

Previous research showed that it is common for one gene to give rise to several forms of the same protein through different cut-and-paste configurations of its raw copy. The phenomenon, known as splicing, means that cells from the same tissue are not so homogenous as previously thought.

The research team has now taken its study a step further and developed a method for the complete mapping of the gene expression of individual cells. In showing which genes are active, it is now possible to accurately describe and study differences in gene expression between individual cells from the same tissue.

"Scientists have been waiting for a long time for such a method to come along, but technical limitations have made it difficult to produce a sufficiently sensitive and robust method," says Dr. Sandberg. "The method has several areas of applications including cancer research where it can be used to study which cell types form cancer tumors in individual patients."

In the study, scientists studied tumor cells in the blood system of a patient with recurring malignant melanoma. Once they had identified the tumor cells in a regular blood test, the team used Smart-Seq to analyze their gene expression. By using this method, researchers could show that the tumor cells had activated many important membrane proteins that are understood to be responsible for their ability to evade the body's monitoring system and spread in the blood or lymph.

The study was conducted with the support of several funding bodies, including the European Research Council, the Swedish Research Council, the Foundation for Strategic Research, the Åke Wiberg Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Publication: 'Full-Length mRNA-Seq from single cell levels of RNA and individual circulating tumor cells', Daniel Ramsköld, Shujun Luo, Yu-Chieh Wang, Robin Li, Qiaolin Deng, Omid R. Faridani, Gregory A. Daniels, Irina Khrebtukova, Jeanne F. Loring, Louise C. Laurent, Gary P. Schroth and Rickard Sandberg, Nature Biotechnology, online publication 22 July 2012.

About Karolinska Institute

Karolinska Institutet is one of the world's leading medical universities. It accounts for over 40 percent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden and offers the country's broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. Since 1901 the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has selected the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.

About The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

LICR is an international non-profit organization committed to improving the understanding and control of cancer through integrated laboratory and clinical discovery. Leveraging its worldwide network of investigators and the ability to sponsor and conduct its own clinical trials, the Institute is actively engaged in translating its discoveries into applications for patient benefit. Since its establishment in 1971, the Institute has expended more than $1.5 billion on cancer research.

For further information please contact the KI press room at +46 8 524 860 77 or Pressinfo@ki.se or visit http://ki.se/pressroom and Rachel Steinhardt, rsteinhardt@licr.org or +1-212-450-1582.

Rachel Steinhardt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.licr.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bolstering fat cells offers potential new leukemia treatment
17.10.2017 | McMaster University

nachricht Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes
17.10.2017 | King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>