The biology of cardiovascular disease, and many other illnesses, is extremely complex. Cytomics offers a method to look at both the genetic and environmental influences of a disease. Compared to genomics, which focuses on genes, and proteomics, which covers proteins, cytomics captures the molecular integration of genes and proteins, as well as modulating environmental factors like smoking and diet. “The beauty of cytomics is that it shows single-cell phenotypes of individuals resulting from genes and environmental exposures,” says Dr. Yvon.
Cytomics takes a top-down approach to looking at a disease. “We start with phenotypes and link them to what we observe about a disease,” says Dr. Yvon. This is easier than genomics and proteomics, he says, which are bottom-up approaches. A top-down approach looks at the single-cell level of an individual, while genomics and proteomics look at biomolecular events in cell populations.
Recent and dramatic improvements in instruments, markers, reagents, and data analysis make cytomics a valuable tool for studying diseases. “Cytomics offers an efficient alternative to systemically explore the biocomplexity of human organisms and is more closely related to explaining a disease state,” says Dr. Yvon.
The technology platform at CytoVas analyzes millions of cells at a rate of 100,000 events/second, and the high-throughput and high-dimensional analysis is very sensitive and specific, says Dr. Yvon. It relies on flow cytometry and cytometric fingerprinting, which interprets the huge volume of data generated. Cytometric fingerprinting identifies patterns or signatures that are relevant for a clinical diagnosis in an unbiased way.