Immune cells have traditionally been considered to be rather homogenous in nature, with some populations displaying functional heterogeneity (See et al, 2018). Single cell techniques, such as single cell RNA-Seq (scRNA-Seq), with which individual cells are characterized according to transcriptome analysis rather than surface markers, have helped uncover the vast and unsuspected number of transcriptionally diverse immune cell populations, creating new possibilities within immunological research.
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The Nadia Instrument enables the implementation of scRNA-Seq through droplet microfluidics at a low cost per cell and at a high throughput. Importantly, it is sequencing-technology agnostic. Libraries obtained from a Nadia scRNA-Seq run can be submitted to short-read or long-read sequencing.
The latter technology is key to achieving increased resolution of TCR and BCR (T/B-Cell Receptor) clonality and provide detailed descriptions of immune repertoires in various cancers (Gomes et al 2019).
Beyond scRNA-Seq, the Nadia platform and its companion instrument the Nadia Innovate can be used to encapsulate cells in hydrogels to study cell-cell interactions. In the field of immunology, this method enables the investigation of interactions between tumour cells and immune cells. Hydrogel encapsulation also offers the opportunity to better understand single immune cell characteristics and behaviour in a 3D, in vivo-like, microenvironment (Jane Ru Choi, 2020).