The Keystone Cancer Stem Cells: Advances in Biology and Clinical Translation eSymposium was held the mornings of May 19-21 which allowed me to attend online and catch up on AACR presentations in the afternoon. Mission Bio was a co-sponsor for the event since our Tapestri Platform is being utilized to advance knowledge of co-occurrence of mutations at a single cell level in many cancer stem cell-focused research labs.
The conference was organized by Dr. Irene Oi Lin Ng from the University of Hong Kong, Dr. Xin Wei Wang of the National Cancer Institute, and Dr. Dean Tang of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and would have been held in Hong Kong. As Dr. Ng has posited “cancer stem cells are like the roots of weeds, thus destroying cancer stem cells may be the best and fundamental way of cancer treatment”. Therefore, the goal of the symposium was to highlight advances in understanding and defining the mechanisms by which cancer stem cells drive oncogenesis and developing targeted therapies to prevent cancer from developing and spreading at the outset.
The Mission Bio Tapestri instrument is specifically designed to understand the clonal evolution of cells by directly measuring the changes occurring at the DNA level within each cell. With the addition of cell surface protein expression, one can also detect the cell type in which the mutations arise. Many of the presentations in the symposium mentioned the challenges associated with using scRNA-seq to monitor clonal evolution, as this approach requires complex computational analysis. Researchers could greatly expand their knowledge of changes occurring at the DNA level by the addition of single-cell DNA-seq. Moreover, using a DNA + protein multi-omics approach would enable researchers to simultaneously assess DNA mutations and cell type/ state.
The Tapestri system can be utilized with cells obtained from organoid models of tumor microenvironments (see our app note that used organoids to study bladder cancer). One can also track the eradication of cancer stem cells, and it can even be used in zebrafish or mouse model systems. The Tapestri system has been shown to be particularly effective in monitoring subclonal populations that drive tumor progression and drug resistance, as has been recently demonstrated by Peretz et al 2021, Demaree et al. 2021, Choe et al. 2020, and DiNardo et al. 2020.
I hope Mission Bio will be able to attend the next Keystone Cancer Stem Cell in person and listen to researchers using single-cell DNA seq from Tapestri to advance understanding of cancer stem cells and to ultimately find the means to eliminate cancer.
Next up will be ASCO 2021 on June 4-8th. I look forward to virtually seeing all of you there!