Institute of Biotechnology, Vilnius University, Lithuania
Dr. Linas Mazutis is a biochemist by training with a very strong technological background. His group is developing various microfluidic tools for biological and biomedical research. He is a co-inventor of droplet-based RNA-Seq technique called inDrops, which has been successfully commercialized by 10X genomics.
There is a popular view that discrete cell states define the local tumor environment and thus the clinical outcomes such as cancer progression or response to therapy. To better understand whether immune cell states differ in normal tissue and in the tumor and whether they represent a limited number of discrete differentiation or activation intermediates with defined gene expression characteristics we undertook a large-scale, high-dimensional, single-cell RNA-Seq studies of human breast tumors – as well as paired normal breast tissue, peripheral blood, and a lymph node. Our analyses revealed remarkably increased heterogeneity of intratumoral cells of both lymphoid and myeloid cell lineages, which occupy markedly expanded contiguous phenotypic space in comparison to normal breast tissue. The observed continuum of cell states likely reflects their progressive cellular activation and differentiation and argues strongly against the notion of few discrete states of differentiation or activation of individual cell types shaping tumor microenvironment.
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