Applications of single-cell RNA sequencing in drug discovery and development

Van de Sande, Bram; Lee, Joon Sang; Mutasa-Gottgens, Euphemia; Naughton, Bart; Bacon, Wendi; Manning, Jonathan; Wang, Yong; Pollard, Jack; Mendez, Melissa; Hill, Jon; Kumar, Namit; Cao, Xiaohong; Chen, Xiao; Khaladkar, Mugdha; Wen, Ji; Leach, Andrew and Ferran, Edgardo (2023). Applications of single-cell RNA sequencing in drug discovery and development. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 22 pp. 496–520.



Single-cell technologies, particularly single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) methods, together with associated computational tools and the growing availability of public data resources, are transforming drug discovery and development. New opportunities are emerging in target identification owing to improved disease understanding through cell subtyping, and highly multiplexed functional genomics screens incorporating scRNA-seq are enhancing target credentialling and prioritization. ScRNA-seq is also aiding the selection of relevant preclinical disease models and providing new insights into drug mechanisms of action. In clinical development, scRNA-seq can inform decision-making via improved biomarker identification for patient stratification and more precise monitoring of drug response and disease progression. Here, we illustrate how scRNA-seq methods are being applied in key steps in drug discovery and development, and discuss ongoing challenges for their implementation in the pharmaceutical industry.

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