Childhood Cancer

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Single Cell Atlas of Pediatric Osteosarcoma

Institution: 
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Researcher(s): 
Natalie Collins, MD/PhD
Grant Type: 
Single-cell Pediatric Cancer Atlas Grant
Year Awarded: 
2019
Type of Childhood Cancer: 
Osteosarcoma
Project Description: 

Lay Summary: Children with metastatic osteosarcoma have an especially poor prognosis. Treatments for osteosarcoma have not changed in decades which highlights the need for new and novel therapies. Little is known about why tumors form metastases in some patients and remain localized in other patients. Cells from the tumor break free and circulate in the bloodstream of patients with osteosarcoma. These cells can be detected as circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and are thought to contribute to metastasis formation. Most tumor studies are undertaken on bulk tumor samples, which can mask subtle variations from cell to cell and don't allow identification of individual cells within the tumor. We believe, by looking at individual cells within a tumor and at CTCs, that we will be able to characterize both cancer cells, immune cells, and CTCs, and how these relate to one another and change from person to person and from disease to disease. We aim to perform single-cell profiling on tumor samples from children with osteosarcoma in order to create the first osteosarcoma tumor atlas.

Lay Summary Project Goal: This atlas will describe the molecular states of single cells in the tumor and the relationship to circulating tumor cells and associated clinical information. This study will be the first to look at circulating tumor cells on a cell by cell basis and evaluate the relationship of individual metastatic cells, each with the potential to become metastatic disease, to the primary tumor. This will help predict the biologic underpinnings of metastasis and design treatments to target these cells. By layering clinical, genetic, and biologic characteristics onto single cells from the tumor, we learn how the complex tumor microenvironment impacts the patient's disease with a goal of translating that to cures for more children with osteosarcoma.