Seminar: Single-cell transcriptomic analysis of acute myeloid leukemia and immune checkpoint blockade


McIntyre Medical Building Room 1034, 3655 promenade Sir William Osler, Montreal, QC, H3G 1Y6, CA

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive cancer of the myeloid lineage of the blood system. Prior work has shown that a rare subset of leukemic stem cells (LSCs) is able to propagate the disease. LSCs are presently only defined functionally as able to engraft by xenotransplantation in immunocompromised mice. No universal markers for LSCs are currently known, therefore previous efforts to study LSCs have relied on enriching for them by cell sorting with non-specific markers. In order to better understand the characteristics essential to LSC self-renewal, we propose to apply single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) to study the transcriptional states within human AML samples. While bulk RNA sequencing yields only an average gene expression profile across many cells, scRNA-seq recovers transcripts from thousands of individual cells. This resolution, coupled with the lack of required pre-sorting of cells, provides a less biased view of heterogeneity in cell types and cell states. The overall goal of our research is to exploit scRNA-seq of AML patient samples to study rare leukemic cell populations, such as LSCs and infiltrating immune cells, in order to identify novel, potentially targetable markers.