Study Advances Field of Precision Medicine



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Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have demonstrated a new method of rapidly mapping the genome of individual cells, while clarifying the spatial position of cells in the body.

The discovery, published in the journal Nature communications, builds on previous advances by OHSU scientists in single-cell genome sequencing. The study represents another important step in the field of precision medicine.

“It gives us a lot more precision,” said senior author Andrew Adey, Ph.D., associate professor of molecular and medical genetics in the OHSU School of Medicine. “The single-cell appearance gives us the ability to track molecular changes in each cell type. Our new study also captures where these cells were positioned in complex tissues, as opposed to a suspension of cells from the whole sample.

Scientists applied a method of indexing large numbers of single cells in hundreds of microbiopsies taken from part of the brain of mice and from human brain tissue stored in the OHSU brain bank.

The researchers isolated tiny pieces in cross sections of tissue, then used an existing single-cell profiling technique previously developed in the Adey lab to determine the differences in the epigenetic profiles of cells based on their position in the tissue.

Casey Thornton, a graduate student of the Adey Lab, is the lead author of the study and led the work.

The technique could be particularly useful when there is a need to accurately identify and target cells from specific structures within a tissue, such as cancer or stroke, which the authors explored. in the study.

“Tracking where cells are coming from allows us to find out how diseases progress and alter healthy tissue,” Thornton said. “We are excited to see this approach applied to find new features that define disease progression and can be used for targeted therapies.”

New genome mapping technique opens new avenues for precision medicine

More information:
Casey A. Thornton et al, Accessibility of spatially-mapped single-cell chromatin, Nature communications (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-021-21515-7

Provided by Oregon Health & Science University

Quote: Study advanced field of precision medicine (2021, February 26) retrieved February 27, 2021 from

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