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Towards Single Cell Genomics

  • Project Leaders: Carl Hansen, Marco Marra
  • Institutions: BC Cancer (Previously BC Cancer Agency (BCCA))
  • Budget: $1824278
  • Program/Competition: Science and Technology Platforms
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome Canada
  • Status: Closed

Genome sequencing of any biological sample invariably involves a homogeneous mixture of cells and cell types, but by studying single cells, the confusion that accompanies these mixtures of cells can be avoided. Four diverse but related projects that are seeking to demonstrate how this cutting edge technology can be applied, involve creating microfluidic devices for the separation and preparation of cells (e.g. circulating tumor cells) from samples of interest, along with methods to detect and measure sequence information from these single cells and technologies to create and select therapeutic antibodies generated by single cells. These methods will ensure that genomic information within each cell will be more accurately measured and utilized for treatment. This will lead in turn to a dramatically improved ability to identify mis-expressed genes in diseased tissue and eventually produce high quality gene targets for the design of new drugs. Several technologies arising from these projects are undergoing market analysis to look at commercial potential. A startup company AbCellera Biologics Inc. has been launched to move these technologies forward.