A spatially resolved google-map of tonsil cancer - from a Human-Papillomavirus positive head and neck cancer patient’s tumour. Spatial phenotyping of over 850,000 individual cells allows us to understand the cellular architecture of the tumour, the degree of immune-cell recognition, and the heterogeneity within the tumour microenvironment. These measurements are giving us insights into the underlying tumour biology which will aid in identifying therapies likely to benefit the patient
Immunotherapies have been hailed as a game-changer in the treatment and management of head and neck cancers (HNC). In a subset of HNC patients, durable and efficacious outcomes have been observed. Identifying these patients remains a clinically unmet need. Current biomarkers such as PD-L1 expression and mutational load do not capture the dynamically evolving tumour microenvironment (TME). Here, Dr. Arutha Kulasinghe and Associate Professor Brett Hughes propose, a word-first, multi-omic assessment of HNC, using high resolution imaging of the tumour microenvironment. This allows Dr. Kulasinghe and A/Prof Hughes to determine the degree of immune recognition of the tumour, metabolic readout and cellular architecture which encompass a greater level of insights than are accurately possible - enabling the discovery of biomarkers predictive of response to immunotherapy.