Single Cell Analysis-The Future Of Advanced Cell Analysis

The cell is a dynamic part of an organism in which various structural and functional components change in time and space resulting in growth and differentiation. It was once accepted that cell population was homogeneous in nature, yet the most recent studies demonstrate that heterogeneity does exist even inside a small population of cells. Measurement of gene expression based on the homogenized population of cells is misleading and it does not account for the small but critical changes that are occurring in individual cells. Singular cells can contrast significantly in size, protein levels, and communicated RNA transcripts, and these varieties are critical to answering previously irresolvable factors in immunology, cancer research, neurology, developmental biology, and stem cell biology.

The single-cell analysis is a most promising research technology adopted by many researchers in order to study the heterogeneity of cells. Studying the genetic pattern and protein expression can explain the cell behavior, but single cell analysis can be used to study the dynamics of the live cells for understanding the molecular events occurring inside the cells. Flow Cytometer, Microscope, Spectrophotometer, NGS, and PCR devices are some of the indispensable tools used in the single cell analysis. According to IQ4I estimation single cell analysis global market is expected to grow at double digit CAGR from 2016 and to reach $3,163 million by 2023.

Geographically, North America holds the highest share in the single cell analysis global market, growing at a double digit CAGR. Asia pacific is expected to grow at fastest pace from 2016-2023. Some of the factors driving the single cell analysis market are technological advancements in single cell analysis, the high prevalence of infectious diseases, increasing geriatric population, and increasing government funding for basic and advanced cell research. But high cost of equipment and intellectual property related issues is expected to hinder the growth of this market.

Various companies have come up with high throughput single cell analysis systems which can perform a number of functions such as cell sorting, imaging, and analysis in a single equipment. For instance, Sphere fluidics offers the first high throughput integrated instrument that works on the unique pico droplet technology and process millions of heterogeneous cells in very short time.

Fluorescent In-situ Sequencing (FISSEQ)is a new revolutionary sequencing platform that enables highly multiplexed analysis of RNA, DNA and other molecular features in a single cell without removing cells from their tissue.It combines the technology of RNA-FISH and global transcriptome profiling of RNA-seq and is compatible with sample types such as tissue sections, whole mount embryos, and cell culture. Transcriptome in-vivo analysis (TIVA) is a noninvasive RNA capture method which enables capturing of mRNA upon photoactivation from single cells in a live environment. This technology is being applied more when compared to laser capture micro-dissection and patch pipette aspiration for isolating single cell due to no damage to the cell or no tissue deformation during the procedure.

In December 2016, Wyss institute at Harvard university announced their FISSEQ technology being commercialized through a newly formed company ReadCoor Inc. for which it has received $2.5 million two-year grant from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and this grant will be used in developing tissue based FISSEQ technology for detecting infectious diseases.

Single cell analysis finds its applications in cancer research, immunology, neurology, and stem cell biology. Among them few most attractive applications currently trending include circulating metastatic cells studies, drug and candidate screening, cell differentiation, and analyzing fetal cells in maternal blood. The Single cell analysis integrated systems come with inbuilt single cell imaging and analysis systems to ease the researchers in imaging without compromising on the performance of the systems. For instance, EVOS range of cell imaging systems from ThermoFisher Scientific can be used for fluorescent live cell imaging for advanced single cell analysis.

Recently, in January 2017, Illumina and Bio-Rad together launched single cell sequencing solution. Illumina Bio-Rad single cell sequencing system can be extensively used in isolating and bar-coding cells for downstream sequencing. Single cell analysis is expected to grow significantly in the future years due to increasing burden of diseases pushing the research forward. This growth will collectively increase demand for technologies like live cell imaging, single cell isolation, and high content screening.

Major players in the single cell analysis market are Agilent Technologies (U.S), Thermofisher Scientific (U.S.), Illumina (U.S.), Fluidigm Corporation (U.S.), GE healthcare (U.S.), Bio-Rad Laboratories (U.S.), BD and Company (U.S.) and Qiagen NV (Netherlands). Thermofisher Scientific, Illumina, and Qiagen NV are the 3 major players occupying more than half of the single cell analysis market.


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