providing finer spatial resolutions for basic and clinical researchers
Single cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) is a popular technology widely used across the research community that requires high-quality preparations of single cell suspension from fresh tissue. However, this process may be unfeasible in the clinical and basic science settings. scRNA-seq also has several other restrictions that limit the clinical applicability for molecular diagnosis.
Spatial Transcriptomics (ST) combines scRNA-seq with traditional histological methods in order to assign cell types to their original location within a tissue sample. ST is based on tissue sections instead of the challenging process used in scRNA-seq technology, making it easier to analyze a wide collection of basic and clinical samples. But there are limitations to ST technology, including resolution and performance problems, technical pitfalls, and extensive technician/equipment time to obtain the data.
The University of Michigan’s Jun Hee Lee, Ph.D., is developing Next Generation Spatial Transcriptomics (NGST) technology, now known as Seq-Scope, a new methodology and device which results in a much finer resolution of ST—a resolution comparable to optical microscopy.
“NGST is a disruptive technology that may irreversibly alter the landscape of both basic and clinical science, like PCR, microarray, and next-generation sequencing formerly did,” Lee explains.
This new technology may revolutionize the diagnosis of many diseases like cancer or immune disease, and over time, the accumulation of such data could lead to many new molecular diagnostic methods for personalized precision medicine.
Basic and clinical researchers are often limited to spatial transcriptomics technology, and the current resolution and performance of this technology pose difficulties to scientific research and discovery.
The Next Generation Spatial Transcriptomics device uses an array of pixel units. The average distance between different pixels is around or less than 1μm. Therefore, this can enable a micrometer-resolution RNAcapturing array, whose resolution is comparable to optical microscopy (10X objectives or 100X mag).
Experiments show that the NGST device is comparable or superior to existing scRNA-seq or ST methods while providing finer spatial resolutions. NGST has the potential to replace scRNA-seq technology for solid organs and tissues, enable performing multiple histological analyses in a massively parallel way, enable the development of new ST applications such as molecular diagnosis for personalized medicine (e.g., by analyzing cancer tissue), and subsequently lead to market growth.
- Intellectual Property: United States provisional patent pending. This patent covers all aspects of NGST, including methods for making and using the HDMI array.
- Commercialization Strategy: NGST has the potential to outcompete former technologies in this emerging market by providing a μm-resolution spatial profile of nucleotides in a quick and straightforward method.
- Engage Investors: Attracting industry players and investors by producing more data to show the robustness and versatility of the technology.
- Product Launch Strategy: Working with Innovation Partnerships to identify potential licensing targets and consideration for a start-up company.
- Demonstration of micrometer-resolution spatial transcriptome in liver
- Demonstration of micrometer-resolution spatial proteome in liver
- Non-provisional patent application and peer-reviewed publication
- Optimizing NGST workflow, finding additional applications, and constructing manufacturing workflow for generating HDMI arrays
- Pre-product prototype (HDMI array) generation
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