Work during recent years by us and others has demonstrated that natural killer (NK) cells are key effector cells in myeloid leukemia, and that NK cell-stimulatory immunotherapy may contribute to elimination of leukemic cells. Traditionally, cytotoxic NK cells have been regarded as a uniform cell type, but with novel multi-dimensional analytical instruments we have learnt that this cell type alone comprises thousands of different phenotypic populations in a given individual. The immunogenetics, infection history etc. of an individual will shape the repertoire of her/his NK cell population, and a bearing idea of the Thoren lab is that this repertoire influences the clinical outcome of patients inflicted by myeloid leukemia. In a few recent publications (Bernson et al. Leukemia 2017, Bernson et al. Cancer Immunol Res 2018, Hallner et al. Blood 2019), we have demonstrated that such aspects of NK cell biology play a key role in the prevention of relapse in acute myeloid leukemia. In ongoing studies we i) continue to characterize how different NK cell subsets contribute to our anti-leukemic defense during immunotherapy, and ii) investigate to what extent leukemic stem cells and progenitors carry ligands for NK cell receptors, which could enable eradication of the residual leukemic cells. For these studies, we were invited to join the BD Multi-Omics alliance where we combine oligo-conjugated antibodies (BD Ab-seq) and single-cell RNA seq using the BD Rhapsody system to address these research issues. Together with the labs of Prof Michael Rieger in Frankfurt, Germany and Dr Bruno Paiva in Pamplona, Spain we are addressing the heterogeneity in healthy and leukemic stem cells/progenitors.

Participating lab members:

PhD student, Brwa Hussein

PhD student, Hana Komic