Timeframe: 2022 – 2024
Goals: Advance immunotherapy for FLC by defining promising immunological targets that can be translated into effective cell-based immunotherapies
Principal Investigators: Praveen Sethupathy, PhD (Cornell University); Mark Yarchoan, MD (Johns Hopkins University); Paul G. Thomas, PhD (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital)
Study overview: Like tumors of other cancer types, the microenvironment of FLC tumors is highly complex, comprising many different cell types. It is now well-established from investigation of other cancer types (such as lung, breast, and pancreatic cancer) that cross-talk among these different cell types can promote tumor development, growth, and spread. A recent study in the Sethupathy lab identified critical regions of the genome that are uniquely activated in FLC. These regions offer clues about the genes that might be most critical for the development of FLC. However, an important limitation of this work is that it was performed on bulk FLC tissue, which does not resolve different cell types, and instead treats tumor tissue as one whole unit. This means that the specific cell types in which these FLC genes are active is not yet known. This represents a major knowledge gap. Identification of the specific cell types in which FLC genes are active would then allow more precide study of the functions of these genes in FLC, and facilitate the development of more effective targeted therapeutics.
To help bridge this knowledge gap, the Sethupathy (Cornell), Yarchoan (Johns Hopkins), and Thomas (St. Jude Children’s) labs will participate in a collaborative research consortium to develop an FLC tumor “atlas”. They will leverage state-of-the-art genome-scale technologies to provide unprecedented resolution of the cellular and molecular landscape of FLC. This consortium brings together three groups with longstanding interests and experience in FLC research, as well as specific expertise in genomics and gene regulation (Sethupathy), clinical oncology (Yarchoan), and immunology (Thomas and Yarchoan).