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Deeper insights into hematological oncology disorders via single-cell phospho-signaling analysis.

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  • 1Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Drive, Palo Alto CA 94305, USA.


An understanding of hematological cancer cell signaling processes poses one of the most complex and intractable problems in modern biomedical inquiry. While we understand some of the fundamental players that contribute to oncogenic processes, significant effort is focused upon determining how these individual players relay information to each other to create the composite functions of a cancer cell. Efforts designed to understand these processes at the single cell level will undoubtedly allow for understanding of the heterogeneity of hematological tumors as well as, simultaneously, the function of the 'responding' immune system. I will relate some of the insights our laboratory has developed over the last several years applying single-cell phospho-flow cytometry to the study of signaling in primary patient material and murine models. While it is clear that this analysis now allows us to accomplish phospho-signaling biochemistry at the single cell level with primary cell material, we are only beginning to develop some of the bioinformatics tools to appropriately display the vast amount of information collected by such approaches. These approaches, however, have already allowed us to develop approaches that prognosticate patient outcomes based on signaling status, prior to any treatment, as well as subgroup patient subtypes according to signaling states. The modest efforts to date presage a time where it should be possible to provide far more tailored therapies specific to the varied diseases represented by the hematological malignancies.

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