5th Annual Mass Cytometry Summit: a Recap

Stay up to date with a summary of this year’s event in Seattle

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Time-of-flight mass cytometry, the technology behind CyTOF® instruments, has shot to prominence as a game-changing innovation powering unprecedented breakthroughs in health and disease. With capability to perform high-parameter analysis of millions of cells at single-cell resolution, mass cytometry is a crucial tool for studying cellular processes in cancer, immunology and cancer immunotherapy.

On June 10, Fluidigm sponsored the 5th Annual Mass Cytometry Summit to gather the scientific community for a colloquy on moving the field ahead. More than a hundred scientists from 12 nations convened at the Seattle event for presentations from leading researchers revealing emerging insights made through mass cytometry. A few highlights included Hartland Jackson’s presentation on the visual impact of imaging using mass cytometry, Erin Simonds’ illuminating discussion of high-dimensional data analysis tools and a lively panel discussion on approaches to interrogate tumors and tissues.

“Amazing. I haven’t been so excited to be part of a conference in a long time. Hearing the presentations on analysis of mass cytometry data was huge for me, really helpful.”
—Evan Lind, PhD

“This combination of information collected on single cells is what we need to characterize dynamic, evolving cellular systems like cancer and immune cells from patients being treated with combinations of targeted therapy and immunotherapy,” noted speaker Jonathan Irish, PhD.

“Today we are discovering cell subsets that predict patient treatment responses based on cell-signaling responses,” he continued. “Tomorrow I hope to be able to mine someone’s published single-cell RNA-seq data to see what transcripts are expressed in these cells, … see with imaging data where those cells exist in the tumor … or know how they will respond to a drug from a high-throughput screen.”

Here’s a recap of the speakers and topics from this year's three-part event:

Mass Cytometry and Human Health

  • Massively Multiplexed Analysis in Developing Human Systems: Sean Bendall, PhD, Stanford University
  • IL-2 Induces Selective Activation of Helios-Positive Regulatory T Cells and CD56bright NK Cells in Vitro and in Patients with Chronic GVHD Receiving Low-Dose IL-2 Therapy: Nicole Paul, MS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • Human Systems Immunology Enabled by Mass Cytometry: Petter Brodin, MD, PhD, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Standardization and Reproducibility in Mass Cytometry Assays: Mike Leipold, PhD, Stanford University

Extracting Meaning from Complex Data

  • Tools and Approaches for Analysis of Mass Cytometry Data: Erin Simonds, PhD, UCSF
  • Fresh Squeezed: Using Citrus and Other New Improvements in Cytobank: Geoff Kraker, Cytobank

Meeting the Challenge of Tissue and Tumor Analysis

  • Highly Multiplexed Imaging of Tumor Tissues by Mass Cytometry for Precision Medical Applications: Hartland Jackson, PhD, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Using Mass Cytometry to Interrogate Tumors and Tissues: Panel discussion moderated by Sean Bendall, with Jonathan Irish, PhD, Vanderbilt; Adeeb Rahman, PhD, Mount Sinai Hospital; and Hartland Jackson

“Amazing,” said cancer immunologist and Assistant Professor Evan Lind, PhD. “I haven’t been so excited to be part of a conference in a long time. Hearing the presentations on analysis of mass cytometry data was huge for me, really helpful.”

“I was inspired hearing from the scientists about all the diverse projects being done with mass cytometry,” Lind added. “It gave me a lot to think about.”

There is still much to learn about how the immune system recognizes and eliminates tumors that will change the course of cancer treatment in the future. Interrogation of immune cell function and the tumor microenvironment at single-cell resolution is essential, and the summit highlighted a number of advantages that CyTOF technology provides to achieve this goal.

Imagine what discoveries and scientific advancements lay in store for the next Mass Cytometry Summit in 2017. We look forward to seeing you there.

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