Friday , January 27 2023

Science Magazine chooses to study living cells of cells by cell as the discovery of the year


A set of new technologies allows you to immerse yourself in the body of living beings and explore the cell's cell with cells. It is a vision of life that was impossible a few years ago. This set of techniques, known as RNA sequencing of individual cells, is the discovery of the year, according to the prestigious magazine Science.

These techniques, whose use has been universalized since 2013, enable us to know which genes are active in the cell, to know its function, to designate it to follow it throughout life, and to see how it interacts with other cells in a three-dimensional level. So you can see how the embryo of several cells leads to different organs to generate a healthy person or discover molecular processes that cause cancer and other diseases.

About five years ago, these techniques allowed sequencing as well as a multitude of hundreds of cells at the same time; now hundreds of thousands can be analyzed. This allows the characterization of whole organs and even whole organisms. One of the applications of this technology is to find new types of cells in the human body. This year, a new class of cells were discovered in the area of ​​contact between the uterus and placenta. They perform the task of mediating the immune system of the mother so that the mother recognizes the fetus and does not attack it during the first months of pregnancy. The same happened in the brain or respiratory system.

"Before we thought there were about 3,000 different types of cells in the human body, we now believe it has 10 times more," explains Holger Hein, a researcher at the National Center for Genomic Analysis in Barcelona and one of the Atlas Celular project coordinators. Human

This initiative, which appeared in 2016 and covers more than 1,000 scientific teams from 58 countries, will provide the first cell card of 10 human organs in 2022. "These techniques will give us Google maps of a complete human body in which we can zoom each organ and research the cell by cell. First, we will have a reference to a healthy body and then add specific disease profiles," he explains.

The Hein team focuses on the atlas of the b-cell of the immune system. "These cells play a key role in chronic lymphocytic leukemia and, thanks to this technique, we can find out what's wrong with these cells. For example, we analyze blood in patients who do not respond to treatments and those who do not disperse after the drug. The way we can predict what the prognosis of a particular patient is and adjust the treatments, for example, to give it very aggressive or not, "he explains.

From the development of the first human cell atlas, the European LifeTime project aims at analyzing the origin and progression of cancer and other diseases at the cellular level. This initiative also compete to receive funding of one billion euros from the European Commission. These types of techniques are used in animal models and human tissues, but for now they can not be applied to living people. In any case, experts emphasize that this does not have to be a limitation for possible medical needs.

Team Nikolaus Rajevsky, one of the coordinators of the European project, develops human mini organs created from reprogrammed cells of patients that can be used to sequencing individual cells and see how they change with different drugs.

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