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Akoya Biosciences Announces Peer-Reviewed Publication Using Ultrahigh-Plex Spatial Phenotyping of Head and Neck Cancer to Identify Distinct Immune and Metabolic Signatures

MARLBOROUGH, Mass., Oct. 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Akoya Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: AKYA) (“Akoya”), The Spatial Biology Company®, today announced that researchers from Akoya Biosciences and The University of Queensland’s Frazer Institute have comprehensively mapped the spatial proteome of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) using ultrahigh-plex spatial phenotyping. Spatial phenotyping consists of whole-slide imaging of tissue sections at single-cell resolution to visualize and quantitate biomarker expression and reveal how cells interact and organize across the entire tissue landscape.

The study, published in GEN Biotechnology in an article titled Mapping the Spatial Proteome of Head and Neck Tumors: Key Immune Mediators and Metabolic Determinants in the Tumor Microenvironment identified a high degree of intra- and inter-tumoral heterogeneity intrinsic to head and neck cancers and advances the understanding of the mechanistic basis of variable clinical responses.

The study analyzed head and neck cancer tissues from a patient with varying responses to immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy. The analysis was conducted using a panel of 100+ biomarkers to measure key cancer hallmarks of tumor and immune biology with Akoya’s PhenoCycler®-Fusion system. The PhenoCycler-Fusion is the fastest spatial biology solution available which enables rapid imaging of whole slides at single-cell resolution.

“This study represents a significant advancement in multiplexed imaging and, to our knowledge, is the first single-cell spatial proteomic dataset integrating information from immune, metabolic and stress pathways to provide a holistic view into the biology of heterogenous HNSCC tumors” noted Niyati Jhaveri, PhD, Head of Applications at Akoya Biosciences. “It provides an analytical framework for future spatial studies leveraging the resolution, plex and speed of Akoya’s solution to decipher the complex nuances of human tissues in homeostasis and disease.”

A pivotal discovery in the study highlighted the divergent enrichment of functionally specialized immune cell subsets, as well as distinct metabolic and stress signatures organized within specific spatial domains in the tumor. This overarching observation in the paper underscored the existence of heterogeneous niches and competitive microenvironments, potentially serving as defining factors for clinical response and resistance.

“Immune checkpoint inhibitors have shown promising results in recurrent and metastatic cases of HNSCC,” said Dr. Arutha Kulasinghe, of The University of Queensland’s Frazer Institute, leader of the Clinical-oMx Lab, and one of the paper’s authors. “Durable treatment results, however, are observed in only 30% of patients, indicating that new biomarkers for stratification of responders and non-responders are needed. The dichotomy of immune activation-induced death and tumor progression we observed in an individual patient’s tissue sample correlated with the partial response seen with ICI therapy. We believe that the approach outlined in this study will pave the way towards a new understanding of tumor microenvironment features associated with response and sensitivity to immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies in head and neck cancer and other solid malignancies.”

Forward-Looking Statements

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About Akoya Biosciences

As The Spatial Biology Company®, Akoya Biosciences’ mission is to bring context to the world of biology and human health through the power of spatial phenotyping. The company offers comprehensive single-cell imaging solutions that allow researchers to phenotype cells with spatial context and visualize how they organize and interact to influence disease progression and response to therapy. Akoya offers a full continuum of spatial phenotyping solutions to serve the diverse needs of researchers across discovery, translational and clinical research: PhenoCode™ Panels and PhenoCycler®, PhenoImager® Fusion, and PhenoImager HT Instruments.

Investor Contact:
Priyam Shah
Sr. Director, Investor Relations
Akoya Biosciences

Media Contact:
Christine Quern


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