Sequencing Gets Personal

Twist Bioscience introduces highly customizable sequencing panels, taking personalized diagnostics to the next level.

AsianScientist (Feb. 07, 2024)–Precision medicine has transformed the healthcare landscape as we know it. A departure from the conventional one-solution-fits-all approach, the field uses a patient’s own genetic data to tailor diagnostics and treatments to their unique needs.

Such solutions leverage the rich and complex world of genetic differences between individuals. This is made possible with next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, which have enabled researchers to sequence the full genetic profiles of patients quickly and at a low cost.

At the helm of enhancing sequencing technologies for precision medicine is Twist Bioscience, a global leading synthetic biology and genomics company. With an extensive portfolio of cutting-edge NGS tools, the company has elevated a wide array of projects, ranging from agricultural solutions to cancer research.

One of Twist Bioscience’s innovative solutions is a suite of exceptionally customizable target enrichment panels—Twist Custom Panels. Carefully tailored for each project, these panels introduce greater optimizations and savings to the NGS workflow.

“Given the constrained real estate on a flow cell, custom panels allow selective targeting of specific regions so that researchers can look at regions of interest at greater depth while scaling their experiments. This saves a lot on sequencing costs and computational power,” explained Dr Emily Leproust, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Twist Bioscience.

According to Dr Leproust, the custom panels employ a deliberate process to enrich specific regions of the genome. It starts with double-stranded biotinylated probes, which are designed to bind specifically to target regions. Together, the probes and target DNA are then pulled down by streptavidin beads, isolating them from the non-targeted regions. The end-product is a refined DNA library predominantly composed of the desired regions of interest.

“Recently, we also started offering custom RNA capture panels, which are based on the proprietary exon-aware approach not offered by anyone else in the market,” she added.

Diligently designed by Twist Bioscience’s robust algorithms, Twist Custom Panels are able to ensure highly specific capture of target regions while maintaining uniform coverage across the entire designated area of the genome. This is achieved by strategically balancing the probes based on their GC content. Moreover, synthesized custom panels undergo rigorous NGS-based quality control procedures before they reach customers.

“This meticulous process guarantees the delivery of high-quality and reliable data, which is crucial, particularly for diagnostic applications such as cancer detection,” said Dr Leproust.

Committed to providing comprehensive target enrichment solutions, Twist Bioscience also offers a white-glove service as part of the panel design process. A dedicated team will be dispatched to understand customers’ projects, thoughtfully curating the necessary information for the customized panel design. Such information is fed into Twist Bioscience’s algorithms, which will then formulate 120-base pair DNA probes capable of uniformly capturing all regions of interest.

To grant greater flexibility and simplicity to the NGS workflow, Twist Bioscience introduced the Twist Custom Blended Panels, giving customers the option to expand or enhance existing sequencing panels. With the freedom to mix and match from Twist Bioscience’s diverse suite of panels, customers can now combine different tools into a single panel to better suit their research or diagnostic needs. Furthermore, customers will be assisted with optimizing the panel combinations.

“These panels undergo rigorous quality control, similar to standard blended panels, enabling customers to use them seamlessly as a single panel during the target enrichment workflow,” shared Dr Leproust.

Since its introduction to the market, myriad research areas have benefited from Twist Custom Panels, with liquid biopsies and cancer detection becoming some of the most popular applications of the technology. In a recent study, a custom methylome panel was created for the early detection of colorectal cancer. Designed to capture DNA methylation signals, the panel was used to screen patients for DNA expression patterns that were indicative of the disease.

“We design custom panels for a wide range of applications, including oncology, methylation detection, population genetics, carrier screening and agriculture,” said Dr Leproust.

While such vast real-world applicability has been a highly attractive feature to researchers and clinicians, it is the ease and efficiency of customization that truly gives Twist Bioscience’s panels their competitive edge.

“Thanks to our rapid probe synthesis capabilities, customers can order and test pilot-scale panels within four to six weeks. Once satisfied, they can seamlessly transition to production scale in as little as eight weeks. This unique combination of scalability and speed in customization sets Twist Bioscience apart,” emphasized Dr Leproust.

Twist Custom Panels reflect Twist Bioscience’s long-standing commitment to swiftly delivering sensitive, scalable and quality target enrichment solutions. Boasting major time and cost savings, these panels present researchers and clinicians with a sustainable solution for the long run as the field of medicine shifts its gears toward personalized treatments and diagnostics.

Reach out to Twist Bioscience and learn more about its custom target enrichment solutions here.

Source: Twist Bioscience; Connect World/Shutterstock
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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