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Friday, May 27, 2022

By one death, thousands of precious cells help scientists build a universal reference library

Within moments of her death, an anonymous Bay Area woman gifted the most: 17 different tissues and organs.

Some were transplanted into needy strangers, but many others were taken on a more unique mission. They were donated to research – contributing to the first detailed “Cell Atlas”, a reference guide of cell types and behaviors that will transform our understanding of health and disease.

She was one of 15 different California donors for the Tabula Sapiens Project, a collaboration of dozens of surgeons, scientists and tissue recovery coordinators led by CZ Biohub of San Francisco in collaboration with Donor Network West, Stanford, UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley. There was a team.

For grieving families, “saying ‘yes’ to research is a source of pride,” said Dr. Ahmed Salehi, director of research at Donor Network West, the federally designated organ procurement organization for Northern California and Northern Nevada.

The project is part of an ambitious international effort of more than 2,300 experts from 83 countries – including MIT’s powerhouse Broad Institute, Harvard and Britain’s Sanger Institute – to create a giant human cell atlas. Its goal is to map each type of cell in the human body. Its findings, which are kept in an online database that can be used by any scientist, were published Thursday in the journal Science.

Donors aged 22 to 69 years died suddenly, usually from stroke, heart attack, or head trauma. This means their cells were healthy and normal, ideal candidates for the project.

About half a million of their cells – 400 different types in 24 organs – have been identified, genetically sequenced and logged into the Tabula sapiens database.

“The quality and breadth of these data is unparalleled,” said Stephen Quake, president of the CZ Biohub Network and professor of bioengineering and applied physics at Stanford. The project will “allow scientists to ask and answer questions about basic human health and disease that they have never been able to see before.”

Scientists still have a limited understanding of how cells build different tissues and organs—and how they interact with each other.

Until now, they have mostly focused on studying cells in different organs and tissues, or cells collected from different people. This makes comparison very challenging – because people differ in genetic background, age and environmental exposure. And scientists often use old frozen tissue whose cells have degenerated.

Studying the cells of a single individual solves that problem. This reveals organ-specific differences in cell types. And because the death has just happened, the delicate cell interiors remain intact.

Scientists have long puzzled over how similar cells, such as muscle cells, can perform different functions. There may be a muscle cell for the heart, which helps it pump blood. Another can line the gut, or help you run.

They now know that even though all cells in the body are genetically identical—they contain the same 25,000 genes—each cell type uses that genome differently. By expressing only a subset of all possible genes, it can develop into a specific type of cell, with a specific function.

“People often think of the genome as the blueprint of an organism, but that’s not really true,” Quake said. “The genome is more than a parts list, as each cell type uses a different set of parts.”

“What we’ve been able to do here is help explain how different parts of the genome are used to define different types of cells,” he said.

The Tabula Sapiens Project could help reveal how cells change when they are sick.

For example, Salehi said, you can compare a healthy liver cell to a fatty liver cell, “and ask: ‘Has something happened at the molecular level?’ ,

This project has been made possible by the generosity of organ donors and the speed of scientists. It is still ongoing, the search for potential donors.

Donors were far from diverse, offering a representative snapshot of America’s many genetic lineages. There was a 38-year-old black woman with lupus who died of a stroke, a 69-year-old white woman with schizophrenia who died of a brain injury, a 56-year-old Latino man with severe asthma who died of respiratory failure It was done And a young 42-year-old Asian man died of a heart attack.

All were Californians, mostly from the Bay Area. This made it possible to quickly send their precious cells to our nearest university research laboratories.

Salehi said the process was rehearsed many times, it was a dance of logistical perfection.

In traditional organ donation, it takes several hours for the tissue to be surgically removed after death; Then, once placed in cold storage, it can remain viable for even longer.

But donation through the Tabula Sapiens project should be fast and efficient, as RNA molecules involved in cellular gene expression are degraded almost immediately.

The surgery usually takes place at midnight, when the operating room is empty. The donor, who is already brain dead, has been taken off the ventilator. The family has said goodbye.

Just as one group of surgeons remove tissue for transplantation, a different group of surgeons comes to remove other tissue for research. Each one is an expert in their field, with the skill to remove abnormal tissue such as the salivary gland, bone marrow or parts of the vascular system.

Immediately, tissues are triple-wrapped, boxed, iced, handed over to couriers and taken out.

Meanwhile, scientists from more than a dozen different Bay Area labs are ready and waiting. Pulling all-nighters, these teams quickly process samples and eventually sequence and mark cells using custom-built software.

Salehi said such donations could save lives in the short term, offering hearts, lungs and other organs to seriously ill people.

“But they can also save lives in the long term,” he said. By aiding research, “families think: ‘I can do something tonight that will probably make a difference in five to 10 years.’ ,

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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