Researchers from VIB, Leuven University and University Hospital Leuven studied thousands of healthy and cancerous lung cells to create the first comprehensive atlas of lung tumor cells. Their results reveal that tumors are much more complex than previously appreciated, distinguishing 52 different types of cells. This new information can be used to identify new research lines for treatment. The results of the study will be published in the leading journal Nature Medicine.
While scientists have made enormous headway in the fight against cancer, scientific understanding of tumors at the level of their most fundamental unit – the cell – has been relatively limited. With the advent of new technologies such as single-cell sequencing, big data analytics and advanced bioinformatics pipelines, it is now possible to examine individual cells within their microenvironments at high resolution, for rich insights into their phenotypes.
Tumors found to be unexpectedly more complex
Tumors are very complex ecosystems of cells that interact with their native environments. Studying them in detail requires technologies that have only recently become accessible. The researchers used single-cell RNAseq technology to study almost 100,000 individual cells, focusing on both cancerous cells and non-cancerous cells in tumors such as blood vessels, immune
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