It is now well understood that the basis for how a disease affects someone is hidden in their genes. Therefore, isolating a single cell from human or animal tissue and then studying it in detail has become an important part of medical biotechnological and pharmaceutical research. Therefore, with the increasing demand for the various types of instruments and consumables that help in the analysis of single cells, they are being technologically advanced, so that the entire process can be made cost-effective and more efficient.
For instance, in August 2015, a single-cell messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) sequencing workflow was launched by Fluidigm Corporation for its C1 system, to enable researchers to undertake large-scale studies. The workflow includes reagent kits and integrated fluidic circuits that raise the throughput and make the process simpler.
In the present scenario, the rising incidence of chronic diseases, such as cancer, and infections, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human papillomavirus (HPV), influenzae, and hepatitis, is propelling the number of medical studies involving the study of single isolated cells. Cancer is the second-largest killer on earth, claiming 9.6 million human lives each year, as per the World Health Organization (WHO). The incidence of this disease is rising with an unhealthy lifestyle, oxidative stress, genetic factors, and exposure to pollution and high levels of ultraviolet radiation.
Since cancer and cancer treatment affect different people differently and, often, one treatment that has benefits someone doesn’t do the same for someone else, the demand for personalized medicine is rising. This approach involves an in-depth study of individuals’ genomes to determine the specific factors that lead to the specific behavior of the disease and treatment in people. Based on the study, treatments are devised for each person. Since the study of the genome begins with the analysis of an isolated cell, single cell analysis activities are picking pace with the increasing demand for personalized medicine, especially for cancer.
Numerous techniques are being utilized for single cell analysis, such as flow cytometry, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), next-generation sequencing (NGS), and microscopy. Among these, flow cytometry is used the most widely because it allows for the determination of the chemical and physical characteristics of cells and also for counting and sorting the cells, detecting biomarkers, and engineering proteins. In the coming years, the usage of the NGS technique will likely rise the fastest, as it offers a significant amount of differential data on individual cells, helps in rapid single-cell genome sequencing, and allows for mRNA quantification for the analysis of gene expression.
As all these technologies are a result of extensive research and development (R&D) and advancements in the healthcare infrastructure, North America has been the most-significant single cell analysis market till now. In addition, the rising geriatric population in the region is driving the incidence of infectious and chronic diseases. For instance, the U.S. has been affected the worst by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is why the demand for personalized medicine has risen massively the last year. Further, the high disposable income and supportive reimbursement policies allow people in the region to opt for the expensive personalized treatments.
Hence, with the rising popularity of personalized medicine for the treatment of infections and cancers, the demand for the consumables and products used during single cell analysis will continue to go up.