SINGLE CELL ASSAYS FOR PERSONALIZED AND PRECISION MEDICINE
Yu-Hwa Lo, Roger Chiu, Wei Cai, Yi-Huan Tsai
University of California, San Diego, USA
Single-cell analysis promises to unveil the underpinnings of biological processes that have evaded detection because it enables sensitive and accurate quantification of single-cell properties amidst biological samples with known, but difficult to quantify, heterogeneity (e.g. cancer stem cells in tumor tissue). In the era of personalized and precision medicine, increasing evidence has shown the critical roles of “significant minorities” as they are often responsible for drug resistance, metastasis, and activation/ suppression of immunoresponse while the unique characteristics of these minority cells are masked by measurements of ensemble average.With the rapid advances in high throughput assays and genomic analyses including qPCR and next generation sequencing technologies, the idea of studying individual cell properties is now within reach.However, there still exist substantial technological challenges to produce single cell assays to unleash its full potential for applications in biomarker discovery, drug design, and precision and personalized medicine.What is missing in today’s single-cell assays is a highthroughput, hierarchical and rational cell selection and screening process to determine “what type of cells” are of biological and pathological significance and therefore worth detailed genomic analysis: the phenotype-genotype problem. Another blind spot for today’s single-cell assays is that few single-cell assays can relate cell secretion phenotype to genomic analysis even though it is widely recognized that cytokine and exosome secretion play critical roles in cell behaviors
Our presentation will be focused on the above challenges with the goal of developing a low-cost single-cell assay that can generate diverse single cell phenotype information to support the rationale of final selection for genomic analysis. This phenotypic information includes cell viability, morphology, proliferation rate, exosome production, surface protein markers, gene expression, and secretion of proteins, cytokines, etc. The approach will enable a single-cell assay that produces end-to-end results to support personalized and precision medicine.