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New Publication in Science Leverages Rebus Esper Platform to Create Cell Atlas of Brain Vasculature

·3-min read

Findings highlight the relationship between novel immune cells and hemorrhagic stroke in patients with arteriovenous malformations

SANTA CLARA, Calif., January 27, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Rebus Biosystems Inc., ("Rebus Bio", "Rebus"), an Illumina Ventures-backed life science technology company creating revolutionary tools to advance spatial omics research, today announced the publication of a study in Science led by researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) highlighting its Rebus Esper™ platform’s ability to spatially resolve vascular cell diversity in the adult human brain.

Teams from the UCSF Department of Neurological Surgery and the UCSF Weill Institute of Neurosciences, in collaboration with other institutions, analyzed cells present in subjects with arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). AVMs are caused by incorrectly formed blood vessels in the brain, and often lead to stroke. They compared these cells with samples from healthy adult brain blood vessels to determine which genes were being expressed in the differing samples. Finally, they created a comprehensive cell atlas of the vascular system in the brain. The research revealed that certain immune cells appear to weaken smooth muscle cells in the diseased brain vasculature of patients with AVMs, resulting in a stroke. This particular immune cell subtype may serve as a new therapeutic target, while systematically defining other candidate targets for future investigation and therapeutic development.

"Historically, the vascular system in the adult human brain has been very challenging to map due to high cell density in a 3-D space and the presence of a naturally-occurring pigment on aging cells called lipofuscin," said Ethan Winkler, M.D., Ph.D., research associate at the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences and one of the lead authors of the study. "By using Rebus’ Esper technology, we were able to reduce the lipofuscin background, visualize subcellular details that are critical to our understanding of how these cells interact in their environment, and build a comprehensive cerebrovascular atlas."

In the study, marker genes were identified from single-cell transcriptomes, and using the Rebus Esper platform with the Esper™ High Fidelity assay, gene expression was then matched with a cell’s location. Spatial distributions of cerebrovascular cell states were also characterized with the High Fidelity assay, a key feature of the Esper platform that allows researchers to more accurately conduct gene expression and spatial analyses.

"We commend Dr. Winkler and the team at UCSF for this important research and are thrilled to have enabled it with our technology," said Paul Sargeant, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Rebus. "The Esper platform, coupled with our highly sensitive and specific High Fidelity assay, successfully resolved vascular cell diversity in the adult human cerebral cortex, enabling the creation of this comprehensive atlas. We hope this research will guide future study into the human brain and help broaden researchers understanding of neurological disease treatment and prevention."

The study, titled "A single-cell atlas of the normal and malformed human brain vasculature" was published today in the January 27 issue of Science.

About Rebus Biosystems

Rebus Biosystems is a venture-backed Silicon Valley-based life science technology company creating revolutionary tools to enable spatial omics research without compromise. The company's first instrument, the Rebus Esper, is a fully integrated, automated spatial omics platform that delivers quantitative single molecule, single-cell data with subcellular resolution. Advanced imaging, on-system chemistry, and intuitive software have been combined to provide an end-to-end solution requiring minimal hands-on time. Rebus Biosystems provides all-inclusive assay kits to empower researchers with the resolution, scale and speed of the Rebus Esper for multiple applications. Learn more at

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Julia Fuller
Ford Hutman Media
(858) 692-2001

Robin Marks
(628) 399-0370

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