Through the years, genomics testing has changed greatly. Research for various diseases and bodily functions has improved and we now know more than ever about how the body functions. However, we still do not know everything.
There are a lot of ways in which technology is limited and needs further advancement. Scientists from all over the world have been trying to solve important medical conditions such as cancer. In this article, we will be discussing some of the best technological discoveries and their impact on the disease.
What Is Single Cell Genomics?
There are more than 40 trillion cell types in the body. Traditionally, research on the lifespan and function of cells has been studied by looking at large samples of tissue. Therefore, scientists rarely had the opportunity to look at a single cell in detail without the presence of more.
Single Cell Genomics is a new approach to cellular research that allows individuals to better understand how a single cell functions. Sample preparation using a microfluidic cell sorter allows the cell’s integrity to be maintained for numerous sequencing and multi-omics techniques. Advancements in these techniques could change the way we treat and understand diseases and other biological issues. Single cell genomics can lead to breakthroughs in medicine, agriculture and more!
What Is Cancer?
According to the CDC, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. The cost to treat it was expected to reach $174 billion by 2020. Each year more than 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer.
Cancer by definition is a disease caused by the uncontrolled division of abnormal cells within a part of the body. It usually presents itself as a tumor in a specific place. These cells invade nearby tissue and cause them to malfunction. Untreated, these cancerous cells will completely take over the normal function of cells in the body and can cause organ failure among other things.
There are two different types of tumors. When a tumor can spread it is called a malignant tumor. These tumors are considered cancerous. It is possible for it to spread throughout the bloodstream as well. The second type of tumor is benign. These can grow but are not considered cancerous because they will not spread to other parts of the body. Benign tumors usually can be fixed by a simple surgical removal. Unfortunately, due to the rapid mutation of cells and the spread of malignant tumors, it is incredibly difficult to treat.
How Can Single Cell Genomics Help?
Although there are a lot of ways to reduce the likelihood of getting cancer, no one is immune. Therefore, everyone is at risk of getting it at some point in their life. Some people who get cancer and have no risk factors at all. This is where single cell genomics can step in.
Genetic changes and environmental differences throughout a single tumor cause each cell to respond differently to treatment options. This is why cancer is so difficult to cure. Common treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation are unable to target cancer cells specifically. These treatments end up doing damage to both the cancer cells and healthy cells around the tumor. This is the reason why patients undergoing these therapies get sick and lose their hair.
The ability to single out each cell and understand its pathology gives hope that a treatment might be developed specific to each cell within a tumor. Already, single cell technologies have been able to identify rare cell types, measure mutation rates, and guide treatment.
With single cell genomics allowing the isolation of individual cells, there is no telling where the future can take us! Treatment options may quickly arise with new discoveries made with this advancement.