A highly cost-effective technology which can examine individual cells in leukemia can eventually transform treatment for patients suffering from the cancer.
The new method helped researchers to examine individual tumour cells in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) -- a cancer of blood-forming tissues, hindering the body's ability to fight infection.
The finding showed that leukemia tumours are comprised of cells having entirely different gene expressions.
Typically, RNA sequencing will provide information about what RNA molecules are present in a biological sample, but not where or in which cells they are active, the researcher said.
"With this new, highly cost-effective technology, we can now get a whole new view of this complexity within the blood cancer sample. Molecular resolution of single cells is likely to become a more widely-used therapy option," Lundeberg observed.
The method provides analysis of all mRNA molecules in individual cells by binding a location tag to the molecules.
"With the new method we can study thousands of cells in a day," Lundeberg said, in the paper reported in the journal Nature Communications.