New genome-mapping technique opens new avenues for precision medicine

January 30, 2017
Andrew Adey and Kristof A. Torkenczy work in their research laboratory at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Credit: OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff

OHSU scientists have uncovered a method for quickly and efficiently mapping the genome of single cells within the body. Their findings, to be published Jan. 30 in the journal Nature Methods, clears the way for a significant advance in precision medicine, including cancer, and many other disease areas.

Single-cell genome sequencing has proved valuable for detecting variations within cells, particularly within tumors. However, the lack of an efficient, cost-effective method to map the genome of large numbers of has made it difficult to conduct the kind of robust analysis necessary to characterize the specific genetic makeup of affecting individuals, or other in the body.

The study demonstrates a method of barcoding cells multiple times and then sequencing them. The method greatly expands the number of single cells that can be mapped.

"A tumor is constantly evolving and constantly changing," said senior author Andrew Adey, Ph.D., an assistant professor of molecular and medical genetics in the OHSU School of Medicine. "If we're able to break down the distinct cellular components of a tumor, we can target the cancer much more precisely."

Using their cell indexing , researchers constructed genomic libraries for 16,698 single cells - approximately two orders of magnitude beyond what could be achieved using conventional methods. In the next phase of work, Adey hopes to expand on the types of information that can be accessed in single , including epigenetic properties that vary greatly between different cell types in the body.

"This will enable big advances," Adey said. "Through collaboration with other researchers at OHSU, we hope to begin using this tool fairly quickly in a clinical research setting."

Explore further: New method offers potential for uncovering how cancer begins

More information: Sequencing thousands of single-cell genomes with combinatorial indexing, Nature Methods, nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/nmeth.4154

Related Stories

New method offers potential for uncovering how cancer begins

January 18, 2017
At Baylor College of Medicine, scientists have developed a method that allows them to accurately determine the genes expressed in single cells. Among other applications, this technique can be useful to study how cancerous ...

Low-cost method for examining single leukemia cells could transform treatment

October 14, 2016
Leukemia is a disease in which each cell can exhibit different genetic traits, and now Swedish researchers have found a cheap way to examine the individual cells. Reported in Nature Communications, the breakthrough could ...

Study unmasks the genetic complexity of cancer cells within the same tumor

December 28, 2016
A new study led by Cedars-Sinai investigators dramatically illustrates the complexity of cancer by identifying more than 2,000 genetic mutations in tissue samples of esophageal tumors. The findings reveal that even different ...

New cancer diagnostic method unravels the complexity of breast cancer tumors

November 18, 2016
A team of researchers at Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, RainDance Technologies, Inc., and Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science has developed a novel computational approach ...

Recommended for you

Drug found that induces apoptosis in myofibroblasts reducing fibrosis in scleroderma

December 15, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—An international team of researchers has found that the drug navitoclax can induce apoptosis (self-destruction) in myofibroblasts in mice, reducing the spread of fibrosis in scleroderma. In their paper ...

How defeating THOR could bring a hammer down on cancer

December 14, 2017
It turns out Thor, the Norse god of thunder and the Marvel superhero, has special powers when it comes to cancer too.

Researchers track muscle stem cell dynamics in response to injury and aging

December 14, 2017
A new study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) describes the biology behind why muscle stem cells respond differently to aging or injury. The findings, published in Cell Stem Cell, ...

'Human chronobiome' study informs timing of drug delivery, precision medicine approaches

December 13, 2017
Symptoms and efficacy of medications—and indeed, many aspects of the human body itself—vary by time of day. Physicians tell patients to take their statins at bedtime because the related liver enzymes are more active during ...

Time of day affects severity of autoimmune disease

December 12, 2017
Insights into how the body clock and time of day influence immune responses are revealed today in a study published in leading international journal Nature Communications. Understanding the effect of the interplay between ...

Estrogen discovery could shed new light on fertility problems

December 12, 2017
Estrogen produced in the brain is necessary for ovulation in monkeys, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who have upended the traditional understanding of the hormonal cascade that leads to release ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.