Single-Cell Transcriptome Atlas Elucidates Features Shared by Cancerous, Normal Kidneys

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – By performing RNA sequencing on tens of thousands of healthy and cancerous kidney cells, a team from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, the University of Cambridge, and other centers in the UK has tracked down transcriptomic similarities between Wilms tumor and developing kidney cells, as well as ties between adult kidney carcinoma and a rare kidney cell type.

As they reported online today in Science, the researchers compared available genome sequences for bulk tumor samples to single-cell RNA sequences for nearly 29,700 individual cells from kidney tumors and another 42,809 non-malignant cells from normal fetal, pediatric, or adult kidney and/or ureter tissue samples. Along with immune and non-immune cell clusters, the cells clustered into still other cell subtypes with shared transcriptomic features.

“Using large-scale single cell RNA sequencing, we could precisely define the characteristics of kidney tumor cells for the first time and compare them with healthy reference kidney cells from different development stages and ages,” co-corresponding author Muzlifah Haniffa, a cellular medicine researcher at Newcastle University, said in a statement. “This approach will help towards understanding not only kidney cancer, but many other diseases that have their origin during development.”

On the kidney cancer side,

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