All Publications

  • Skin basal cell carcinomas assemble a pro-tumorigenic spatially organized and self-propagating Trem2+ myeloid niche. Nature communications Haensel, D., Daniel, B., Gaddam, S., Pan, C., Fabo, T., Bjelajac, J., Jussila, A. R., Gonzalez, F., Li, N. Y., Chen, Y., Hou, J., Patel, T., Aasi, S., Satpathy, A. T., Oro, A. E. 2023; 14 (1): 2685


    Cancer immunotherapies have revolutionized treatment but have shown limited success as single-agent therapies highlighting the need to understand the origin, assembly, and dynamics of heterogeneous tumor immune niches. Here, we use single-cell and imaging-based spatial analysis to elucidate three microenvironmental neighborhoods surrounding the heterogeneous basal cell carcinoma tumor epithelia. Within the highly proliferative neighborhood, we find that TREM2+ skin cancer-associated macrophages (SCAMs) support the proliferation of a distinct tumor epithelial population through an immunosuppression-independent manner via oncostatin-M/JAK-STAT3 signaling. SCAMs represent a unique tumor-specific TREM2+ population defined by VCAM1 surface expression that is not found in normal homeostatic skin or during wound healing. Furthermore, SCAMs actively proliferate and self-propagate through multiple serial tumor passages, indicating long-term potential. The tumor rapidly drives SCAM differentiation, with intratumoral injections sufficient to instruct naive bone marrow-derived monocytes to polarize within days. This work provides mechanistic insights into direct tumor-immune niche dynamics independent of immunosuppression, providing the basis for potential combination tumor therapies.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-023-37993-w

    View details for PubMedID 37164949

  • Functional characterization of human genomic variation linked to polygenic diseases. Trends in genetics : TIG Fabo, T., Khavari, P. 2023


    The burden of human disease lies predominantly in polygenic diseases. Since the early 2000s, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified genetic variants and loci associated with complex traits. These have ranged from variants in coding sequences to mutations in regulatory regions, such as promoters and enhancers, as well as mutations affecting mediators of mRNA stability and other downstream regulators, such as 5' and 3'-untranslated regions (UTRs), long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), and miRNA. Recent research advances in genetics have utilized a combination of computational techniques, high-throughput in vitro and in vivo screening modalities, and precise genome editing to impute the function of diverse classes of genetic variants identified through GWAS. In this review, we highlight the vastness of genomic variants associated with polygenic disease risk and address recent advances in how genetic tools can be used to functionally characterize them.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.tig.2023.02.014

    View details for PubMedID 36997428