Mission Bio joins forces with VIB to revolutionize single-cell DNA analysis

7 March 2019
Many researchers are interested in defining the genetic landscape of various tumor types to determine cancer vulnerabilities that can be tackled with targeted therapies. However, differences in the mutational background of individual cancer cells within the same tumor can influence their sensitivity to the targeted treatment, and residual resistant cells can remain present after eradication of most of the tumor.

Marlies Vanden Bempt (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology) says: “The logical next step in cancer research would be to profile the genetic landscape of a tumor on a single-cell level in order to identify subclones harboring possible resistance mutations, which can initiate relapse in patients under treatment.”

For that reason, the Tech Watch team is collaborating with Mission Bio, a San Franciscobased biotech company, to implement their cutting-edge single-cell DNA sequencing technology at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology. Mission Bio’s Tapestri platform uses a combination of droplet microfluidics and targeted in-droplet DNA amplification to identify single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) and indels at the DNA level in up to 10,000 single cells per run. Mission Bio not only provides fixed panels for sequencing of acute myeloid leukemia drivers, chronic lymphoblastic leukemia drivers, drivers of various myeloid disorders and hotspots in solid tumors, but also provides a service to generate custom panels including a personalized set of specific researchrelated genes.

These custom panels allow the platform to address specific research questions, attracting the interest of several PIs, including Jan Cools, Diether Lambrechts and Jean-Christophe Marine. Llucia Alberti Servera, postdoc in the lab of Jan Cools adds: “We have designed a panel containing 108 frequently mtated genes in acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, which covers more than 1,000 reported SNVs. With this custom panel, we can explore the heterogeneity of ALL at diagnosis and follow the clonal composition of ALL during treatment to identify leukemia clones that are more resistant to therapy.”

The adoption and implementation of Mission Bio’s single-cell DNA sequencing platform complements the ongoing efforts at VIB to boost research in the single-cell field. Tapestri will be added to the recently established Single Cell Accelerator (SCA) program, where multiple single cell analysis devices are being evaluated. “Moreover, combining single-cell Tapestri applications with other single cell omics technologies
will lead to major breakthroughs and further unlock secrets of cancer progression,” states Toon Swings,
life science technology specialist at VIB Tech Watch and project lead for the implementation of the Mission Bio technology.

More info: www.missionbio.com

©VIB-Ine Dehandschutter