About this Research Topic
We live in an era of precision medicine in which both clinicians and clinical researchers are intensively developing personalized strategies for treating individual cases of disease in order to (i) improve treatment efficacy; (ii) reduce off-target / side effects and (iii) improve patient outcome. Importantly, it is becoming more and more apparent that the immune system plays a central role in a large variety of diseases including cancer; autoimmune diseases; chronic inflammatory diseases and neurodegenerative diseases.
In recent years, mass cytometry has evolved into a powerful platform for high-dimensional single-cell analysis and is uniquely positioned for implementation in clinical studies. The utilization of rare-earth heavy metal isotopes to tag markers such as antibodies, solves many of the limitations inherent to fluorescent-based cytometry including the number of assessible markers and background considerations. In comparison with the compensation confounded spectral overlap of fluorescence, discrete peak mass detection facilitates a high degree of resolution between adjacent channels across a broad mass range. Since heavy-metal isotope background is rarely found in biological samples, endogenous background from autofluorescence is also circumvented.
As researchers, our understanding of how this and many other aspects of clinical profiling may be influenced and manipulated is paramount. Within the immunology community, mass cytometry is now being developed to: (i) perform immune profiling of tumors; (ii) characterize immune cell subsets, such as monocytes and DCs, in normal versus disease states and (iii) to immunophenotype patients afflicted by a range of disease states including autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases, a testament to its broad applicability.
This Research Topic will give a comprehensive overview of the current methods of mass cytometry and the current application of mass cytometry in the study of human immune system and related diseases. In this Research Topic, we aim to discuss how mass cytometry can be applied to further our understanding of the role of the immune system in the development of disease, particularly in cancer, autoimmune diseases and neurodegenerative diseases. We aim to accelerate the development of methods of immune profiling for use in precision medicine as well as to further explore into the uncharted territories of cellular diversity within the human immune system.
We welcome the submission of Original Research, Review, Mini-Review, Methods, Protocols and Hypothesis and Theory articles covering, but not limited to, the following topics:
1. Clinical insights from mass cytometry in the context of research on cancer and immunotherapy; autoimmune diseases and neuroimmunology.
2. Accessory methods for improving mass cytometry assays for tumor immune-profiling; characterization of immune cell subsets and immunophenotyping of patient samples.
3. Data analysis of mass cytometry for clinical interpretation and the application of precision medicine.
4. Strategies for data mining across mass cytometric analysis.
5. Strategies for incorporation of mass cytometry with other experimental and clinical parameters in the context of the study of tumor immunology; autoimmune disease and neurodegenerative diseases.
We acknowledge the initiation and support of this Research Topic by the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS). We hereby state publicly that the IUIS has had no editorial input in articles included in this Research Topic, thus ensuring that all aspects of this Research Topic are evaluated objectively, unbiased by any specific policy or opinion of the IUIS.
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