Università della Svizzera Italiana, East Campus
Join us in Lugano for the EMBO workshop: Imaging the Immune System.
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The immune system consists of myriad of cell types and soluble factors, whose complex interplay ensures host protection against microbes and tumors. Our understanding of the complexity underlying the immune system has greatly advanced by the development of novel tools, including cutting-edge imaging techniques. The aim of our meeting will be to share the latest findings on immune cell dynamics at the molecular, cellular and tissue-level and exchange on the newest technical developments for visualizing and manipulating immune processes.
The “Imaging the Immune System” (IIS) is a highly successful biannual conference series established in 2014 and now held in its 5th edition as an EMBO Workshop in Lugano (see venue). It gathers 200-250 attendants from the US, Asia and Europe, who specialize in visualizing immune cells in their physiological context. From previous editions, we expect numerous principal investigators attending who wish to update themselves on scientific and technological developments.
Besides presentations from invited speakers, the meeting will provide ample opportunities for oral and poster presentations by young scientists and sufficient time for informal discussions to foster networking and new collaborative projects.
In the past decade, the focus of novel anti-cancer therapies shifted from tumor-intrinsic targets to harnessing and empowering the immune cells to fight against malignant cells (PMID: 34624224). Immune system-targeting approaches have seen increasing clinical success (PMID: 29990692). To further innovate and continue to improve such therapeutical interventions, more detailed knowledge of the tissue-immune cell interaction is needed (PMID: 33811120). Spatial proteomics provides unprecedented and detailed views on immune cell phenotypes while preserving spatial tissue context (PMID: 34811556) and can be insightful for therapy design (PMID: 32466969). Sequential Immunofluorescence (seqIF™) is a novel method, where cycles of antibody-based detection of antigens, imaging, and elution steps are fully automated and integrated on the COMET™ platform. Here, we present how the seqIF™ methodology can be applied to map immune cells across different tumor immune microenvironments (TIME) and underpin their activation phenotypes.
Formalin-fixed, paraformaldehyde-embedded (FFPE) and frozen section (FS) tissue slides were interrogated with hyperplex panels encompassing main immune cell biomarkers and using off-the-shelf reagents. Hyperplex immunofluorescent protocol was performed with automated staining-imaging COMET™ platform generating ome-tiff images composed of 43 layers: DAPI, 2 autofluorescent, and 40 marker channels for FFPE sample and 35 layers: DAPI, 2 autofluorescent, and 32 marker channels for FS specimens. Image postprocessing was performed with the HORIZON™ Image analysis software.
40 biomarkers were detected on a single tissue slide per automated run and underpinned the heterogeneity in the immune cell distribution across different tumor types present within multiorgan tissue array dataset. Results on both FFPE and FS samples shows excellent tissue preservation through the whole workflow. The imaging enabled the identification of several immune cell phenotypes and provided sufficient resolution to identify the subcellular distribution of detected biomarkers.
Joanna Kowal, Ph.D.
Senior Scientific Affairs Manager