Dissecting and Targeting Cellular States Driving Human Gliomas

Mario Suva, MD, PhD
Mario Suvà, MD, PhD
Janet and William Ellery James MGH Research Scholar 2020-2025
Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School

Gliomas are the most common brain tumors and are incurable. A key problem lies in the diverse nature of tumor cells within of gliomas. Most existing genomic approaches have masked the extent and pattern of this diversity because tumors are profiled as “bulk” pieces of tissue.

My laboratory has played a leading role in developing and deploying single-cell genomic technologies to clinical samples in the field of brain cancer. This allowed us to understand these tumors with much higher granularity, as cells are now sequenced individually.

This provided novel insights into the cells driving each glioma type, clarified the relationship between cell types and the genetic alterations of gliomas and shed new light on glioma classification.

With this award we will expand our work into three specific and complimentary directions: (1) use our single-cell knowledge of glioma biology to test new therapeutic approaches; (2) leverage our single-cell techniques to provide deeper understanding of the immune cells in gliomas; (3) expand our single-cell toolkits to be able to interrogate frozen clinical specimens (enabling the profiling of primary and recurrent cases), as well as develop “multi-omics” modalities in single-cells. These new directions will deepen our understanding of gliomas and offer new therapeutics.