How can you use single cell analysis for immunotherapy?

Single cell analysis measures gene expression profiles in individual cells. It avoids confounding signals that commonly arise from using multiple heterogeneous cells and avoids taking averages. Single-cell analysis can be used to predict immunotherapy responses and develop novel precision medicine applications. Patients involved in a recent clinical trial1 using anti-PD-1 ligands for treating advanced melanoma were subjected to high-dimensional single-cell mass cytometry. Individual white blood cells were isolated and analyzed for biomarkers to test whether the therapy was going to be highly efficient even before the treatment had started. This allowed researchers to identify subpopulations of white blood cells that would react with subtle or robust immune responses. The use of single-cell analysis can also be useful to predict response efficacy of polyfunctional antigens in immune cells2 by utilizing RNA-seq to generate comprehensive tumor and immune cell profiling in various cancers.

1. C. Krieg et al, "High-Dimensional Single-Cell Analysis Predicts Response to Anti-PD-1 Immunotherapy," Nat Med 24: 144-153, 2018.
2. Q. Xue et al, "Single-Cell Multiplexed Cytokine Profiling of CD19 CAR-T Cells Reveals a Diverse Landscape of Polyfunctional Antigen-Specific Response," J Immunother Cancer 5(1): 85-101, 2017.