Speaker Abstract RCMM 2017: Associate Professor Dr. Richie Soong

Digital Droplet PCR Technology and Single Cell Research
Richie Soong, BSc (Hons) PhD FRCPath
Department of Pathology, National University of Singapore, Singapore

The ability to detect rare target molecules or characterise single cells at a molecular level promises new horizons in biological understanding and clinical applications. Over the decades, many technologies have been shown to enable detection at such low levels. However, a lack of consistent detection from these technologies at these low levels has meant their output has often not been reliable enough for research and clinical utility. At such low levels, stochastic sampling effects and competition from non-specific background molecules for reagents reduce the qualitative and quantitative consistency of detection. Digital Droplet PCR (ddPCR) is technology that addresses these issues by partitioning samples into tens of thousands of individual droplets in order to reduce background reaction competition and provide an approach for quantification in the presence of stochastic analytical sampling effects. Such technology has been shown to be more sensitive than other approaches for the detection of EGFR mutations in liquid biopsies, and is being applied in the clinic to provide highest quality assessment for the likelihood of response to EGFR inhibitors. The success of this application has supported the consideration of ddPCR for a range of new applications, such as the dynamic molecular monitoring of tumours from liquid biopsies, as well as single cell sequencing. In this presentation, I will share our experience with ddPCR and other liquid biopsy platforms, and other emerging developments in low level molecular analysis.