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Old 01-29-2018, 11:16 PM   #1
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Default RNA Sequencing "at home", when will this be easy?

When will RNA-sequencing (gene expression) easily be possible at home, or at
the doctor's office / point of care?
Right now, it seems that sample preparation is still too demanding, while the sequencing itself is no longer the big problem.
But maybe I'm wrong?
Are there new developments coming up?
"Easily possible" would mean that the doctor/nurse can perform all the necessary steps him/herself in a few minutes.
Whether the sample is then also sequenced at the point of care, doesn't really matter; just freezing the sample (e.g. blood) doesn't look like a solution though, because the equipment for freezing to a sufficient temperature is usually not available, as far as I could find out.
Thanks for any hints!
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Old 01-30-2018, 05:42 AM   #2
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I'll address the RNA storage question first since that is the easiest. Freezing is just one method for long(ish) term preservation of RNA prior to library prep. RNA Stabilization reagents like RNAlater are very effective and easy to use. Consider the multitude of biologists collecting samples in the field without any ability to freeze tissues or other samples.

Secondly, why would RNA expression analysis NEED to be done in a point of care setting? Consider the situation now. There are probably a multitude of the standard blood tests which could be performed in the Dr.'s office yet they are all performed in a clinical lab. Why wouldn't RNA expression analysis fit into this model just as well?

Finally, it will probably take far longer to develop/discover sufficient clinically meaningful understanding of changes in gene expression to make routine RNA analysis worthwhile than it would to develop the technology you envision.
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Old 01-30-2018, 07:39 AM   #3
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Default Re: RNA Sequencing "at home", when will this be easy? Reply to Thread

Thanks a lot to kmcarr for the response!
How long does complete sample processing with RNAlater or something similar take, if done by the doctor/nurse?
(In some scenarios, I'd actually like to have immediate results so that these may be discussed without re-appointment, but that's secondary.)
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Old 01-30-2018, 09:57 AM   #4
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RNAlater only stabilizes RNA, so it does not degrade during transport/storage before the sample can be processed. There are many other things that need to happen before you get to sequencing. Applications that @kmkarr was referring to are for used only for "research" purposes. I am not sure if anything like this has been approved for diagnostic use and certainly not for use in a doctor's office setting.

While in theory sequencing can be done (on DNA for sure) reasonably immediately you are not likely to be able to stick around and discuss those results with your doctor for a number of years.
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