Immune interventions from scRNAseq analysis from debulked neuroblastoma tumors

Neuroblastoma (NB) tumors are heavily pre-treated with 6 courses of high-dose chemotherapy. After chemotherapy, the remaining tumor is surgically removed (tumor debulking) and then patients undergo stem cell transfusion and maintenance therapy with anti-GD2 antibodies. In due time most of these patients relapse. We hypothesize that debulked tumor material could still contain living tumor cells that are the ones responsible for relapse events.

Aim of the project is to type the tumor microenvironment of debulked NB samples with scRNAseq to phenotype tumor cells that survive chemotherapy and that might cause relapse. We expect to unveil immunosuppressive markers that could dampen immune cell response towards tumor cells. We will then validate these markers in co-culture systems of patient-derived organoids and TILs, with the final goal of prioritizing one therapeutic intervention for clinical implementation.

Elisa Zappa