Technologies to watch in 2020 – Single-cell sequencing

From by J. Christopher Love – Chemical engineer at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

I’m interested in how we bring medicines to patients faster and more accessibly. The technologies required are multifaceted. On the one hand, there’s discovery — for example, single-cell sequencing methods. On the other hand, there’s the matter of getting the technology to the patient — the manufacturing part. This is particularly relevant to medicines for rare diseases or for small populations, and is even applicable to global access to medicines we already have.

On the discovery front, we’ve worked with colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge to develop a portable, inexpensive platform for high-throughput, single-cell RNA sequencing. But it’s still challenging to get sufficient resolution to distinguish between immune-cell subtypes, for instance, with different roles and antigen specificities. Over the past year or so, we’ve enhanced single-cell genomic sequencing in several ways. First, we came up with a method for detecting low-expression transcripts more efficiently. And for T lymphocytes specifically, we designed a protocol that links each cell’s gene-expression profile with the sequence of its unique antigen receptor.

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Check out the other Technologies to Watch in 2020.

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