2021.2.19 Press

bitBiome Announces Collaborative Research Agreement with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center on Single-cell Sequencing of the Intratumoral Microbiota from Human Colorectal Cancers

bitBiome, Inc. (Representative Director: Sunao Fujioka, “bitBiome”) and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Assistant Professor: Susan Bullman, “Fred Hutch”) have developed a collaborative research agreement on the microbial single-cell analysis of intratumoral microbiota related to the Colorectal Cancers on February 5th, 2021. 

bitBiome and Fred Hutch have agreed to collaborate on the microbiome analysis of samples from human colorectal cancer (CRC) tissue, with the goal of using single-cell genomics to identify functional capabilities of tumor associated microbiomes.

Within a patient’s colorectal tumor, malignant cells are surrounded by a complex microenvironment, including a range of non-malignant host cells but also a diverse microbiota. Although cellular and animal models have demonstrated a role for specific members of the microbiota in CRC initiation and progression, little is known about the functional capabilities of the tumor-associated microbiota from patient specimens. 

Targeted short-read amplicon sequencing of the microbial 16S rRNA gene within CRC tissues has become the standard and is routinely used to demonstrate microbial dysbiosis whereby enrichment or depletion of dominant microbial genera is often observed. Nevertheless, 16S rRNA profiling methods fail to provide strain variable genomic information on the functional capabilities of the tumor microbiota. This limits mechanistic advances in studies of tissue microbiomes due to an inability to identify disease enriched bacterial virulence factors, and subsequently stymies our ability to identify appropriate bacterial strains to use in follow-up functional and translational studies. 

In this research, bitBiome and Fred Hutch will collaborate to utilize bit-MAP®, a single-cell microbial genome analytical platform, to obtain whole-genome sequences for intratumoral bacterial strains from patient CRC tumor tissue, including the “dark-matter” bacteria that have never been cultured or studied previously. This study will allow us to move from correlative studies of the microbiota in cancer towards studies that assess mechanism. By determining the genes and pathways of intratumoral bacterial strains, we can begin to understand how they contribute functionally to cancer initiation, progression and patient response to treatments. 

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Bullman lab:
Dr. Susan Bullman’s lab focuses firstly on understanding the translational impact of the tumor microbiota in human cancers, and secondly on the delineation of specific mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of microbe-associated human cancers. The Bullman lab combines molecular microbiology, computational biology, spatial profiling, and genetics to understand host-microbial interactions within the tumor microenvironment. Through such efforts, they seek to make discoveries that have both a scientific and clinical impact in the emerging area of bacterial-associated malignancies. Bacterial agents that have a role in cancer initiation or progression provide a viable route for prevention and treatment of these cancers.

【About bitBiome, Inc.】
bitBiome was founded in November 2018 as a spinout from Waseda University. Its proprietary bit-MAP® platform is the world’s only single-cell genome analysis technology specific to microorganisms. Using this platform, rapid, comprehensive, and accurate analysis of unknown microbes can be achieved, without requiring the isolation and cultivation of the cells or complicated data processing typically required in conventional microbiome research. bitBiome provides this technology to academic and corporate partners, mainly in the pharmaceutical and agricultural fields, for next-generation microbiome analysis to unlock the potential of microbes
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【Contact information】
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