First it was all about biomarkers. Then panels of biomarkers. But biology is complicated. Why does one patient respond to an immuno therapy when another which shares the same biomarker does not?
Welcome to the age of spatial biology.
Garry Nolan joins us today. He's a professor in the Department of Pathology at Stanford who's career has been a journey of seeing intracellular happenings more and more in context. Check out this cool analogy from a new paper his lab put out in Cell.
"The tumor micro environment (TME) is like a city composed of neighborhoods (e.g., industrial, residential, or agricultural), which are regions where specific functions of the city occur. These neighborhoods are distinguished by their composition of buildings, activities, and people, but they exhibit behavior of their own, such as industrial output or energy consumption. At a more granular level, people (e.g., teachers, doctors, and construction workers) play integral roles in the city’s function. The same concept applies when studying tissue.”
Today Garry walks us through the transition over the years from biomarker to spatial biology. He then discusses the Cell paper demonstrating that for the first time his lab is seeing that some "neighborhoods" react differently than others in the tumor micro environment. What will this mean in the clinic for patient treatment?
The technology making this possible is the CODEX platform, one of several developed in Garry's lab over the years. He tells of its conception and anticipates how it might evolve in the future.