Spatial and Single Cell Characterization of Breast Cancer Progression: Presenter Profile


Estimated Read Time:

2 minutes

Wednesday, December 7 • 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm CT • Stars at Night Ballroom 3&4

Presentation: Multiplex spatial proteomic profiling

David L. Rimm, MD, PhD
David L. Rimm, MD, PhD

David L. Rimm, MD, PhD
Anthony N. Brady Professor of Pathology
Professor of Medicine (Oncology)
Director, Translational Pathology
Director, Yale Pathology Tissue Services
Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

What is your presentation about?
My presentation is about methods for assessment of multiple molecular variables on a single piece of tissue to better understand breast cancer (or really any cancer) with respect to progression or response or resistance to specific therapies.

What makes this topic important in 2022?
This topic, “spatial biology,” is trending in the bioscience world since it allows spatial analysis of biological information. Genomics, which has been in the spotlight for the last 20+ years, does not maintain spatial information since the first step in the procedure for sequencing of RNAseq is to grind up the tissue, thereby losing the spatial information. A great way to think about this is that a caterpillar and butterfly have the same genomic information, but spatial analysis, especially spatially informed proteomics, shows how different they are. Multiplex spatial proteomic profiling has the potential to reveal much more granular and specific molecular information about individual tumors and thus can (and will soon) facilitate more specific precision medicine.

How/why did you become involved with this area of breast cancer research or care?
As a pathologist, we are all about spatial information. It is the basis of all tissue diagnosis and immunohistochemistry (IHC) represents the first combination of molecular and spatial information. However, IHC is one-plex. The power of immunofluorescence and other tools I will discuss allows multiplex (2-10) or high-plex (>10) assessment of molecules while maintaining the spatial information. IHC has been in the clinic and part of the standard of care for breast cancer patients since the early 1990s.  I believe high-plex assessment of breast cancers will lead to discoveries of new biomarkers or companion diagnostic tests that will be brought to the clinic on a multiplex immunofluorescence platform.