Single-cell Analysis Underscores Heterogeneity within Brain Tumors
Researchers from the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital performed single-cell RNA-seq on some 430 cells isolated from five different primary glioblastoma tumors. From this, they found that the tumors harbor cells belonging to a number of tumor subtypes and that the distribution of these subtypes varies from tumor to tumor.
Cellular makeup of glioblastoma more diverse than previously thought
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Press Release
Scientists from the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have conducted a first-of-its-kind study that characterizes the cellular diversity within glioblastoma tumors from patients. The study, which looked at the expression of thousands of genes in individual cells from patient tumors, revealed that the cellular makeup of each tumor is more heterogeneous than previously suspected. The findings, which appear online in Science Express, will help guide future investigations into potential treatments for this devastating disease.
This is the first time a large-scale census of the individual cells residing in these brain tumors has been taken. Researchers were previously aware that the cells within a human tumor were not all the same – they could have different mutations in their genome and possibly express genes differently – and it is suspected that this diversity may contribute to drug resistance and disease recurrence. But until now, it had been difficult to quantify the extent of this diversity.