Immunomonitoring Laboratory (IML)


Kathleen Sheehan, PhD
Stephen Oh, MD, PhD


The Immunomonitoring Laboratory (IML) provides state-of-the-art analyses to monitor immunologic changes occurring during cancer immunotherapy and relate them to treatment outcomes. The IML both responds to investigator needs with customized analyses by highly trained staff and drives immunology-oncology data acquisition through the expansion of new technologies. The IML is led by Co-directors Stephen Oh, MD, PhD and Kathleen Sheehan, PhD, under the guidance of Robert D. Schreiber, Director of the Bursky Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs.

Aim 1: To conduct assays/provide expertise to support cancer immunotherapy efforts (bench to bedside) with expanding technologies. The IML is a state-of-the art central laboratory to support immune monitoring during cancer immunotherapy that consists of four components 1) Protein and MHC tetramer generation group, 2) Cell immunophenotyping group 3) Immunoassay group and 4) Specialized tissue processing group. Each component is staffed with experienced scientists equipped with sophisticated instrumentation to deliver cutting-edge analysis of both human and murine samples. The Protein and Tetramer group generates custom human and murine MHC class I tetramers and labeled monoclonal antibody (mAb) libraries for both mass cytometry (heavy metal) and conventional flow cytometry (fluorophores). Efforts are in progress to develop murine MHC-II tetramers. The Immunophenotyping group provides expertise in CyTOF2, imaging mass cytometry (Hyperion) and multi-parameter flow cytometry for barcoded analysis of cellular populations and interrelated signaling pathways. The IML is also developing CODEX technology to provide high-resolution spatial analysis of tissue samples using DNA barcoded antibodies. The Immunoassay group utilizes multiple platforms to assess cytokine secretion, cellular activation/proliferation, and multiplex marker analysis during treatment. The specialized Tissue Processing group provides both nucleic acid isolation from blood or tissue samples and provides processing for leukapheresis and blood samples for clinical trials patients not provided in other shared resources (SR). Sample preparation, customized protocols, data analysis, and storage are also provided by the IML.

Aim 2: To explore new basic mechanisms derived from cancer immunotherapy to inform pathways of tumor destruction (bedside to bench). Immune monitoring data obtained from analyses of both patient-derived and basic research applications provides valuable information that can be used by basic and clinical investigators to further examine the outcome of cancer immunotherapy and serve to stimulate investigation of new pathways and targets for cancer therapy. The IML works with investigators to facilitate development of new lines of research in tumor immunology from patient-derived materials and outcomes of various conventional and immune-based cancer therapies. The IML also partners with external investigators and commercial vendors to apply new applications to current technologies.

Aim 3: To synergize with other SCC programs and other institutions to investigate novel roles of immunity in cancer. The IML provides clinical and basic researchers access to services not otherwise available within the Washington University (WU) setting and provides the scaffold to bridge between multiple clinical trials, basic and translational research programs, SPOREs, training programs, and augmentation of other SR services. The hallmark of the IML is its expertise in immune monitoring and flexibility to design and implement custom protocols. IML staff trains laboratory personnel on the use of the advanced instrumentation and assists with experimental design, data archiving, analysis, and interpretation. The IML also coordinates with other SCC SRs to reduce duplication of services, facilitate maximal data capture from rare or limited samples, and optimize the ability to access and generate immune monitoring data. Moreover, the IML has begun to work with outside institutions to share data, develop best practices, and expand access to technologies unique to specific sites. In conjunction with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI) the IML is part of an international consortium to validate cancer neoantigen predictions for cancer vaccines through our development of custom human HLA-A, -B and -C tetramers. Moreover, the IML has participated in Immudex Proficiency testing for both ELISPOT and MHC Multimer staining, achieving the highest tier of rankings in these categories.

LOCATION: 7th floor of the BJC Institute of Health, Washington University School of Medicine

PRICING: Please contact the core for current pricing of services offered.

TO ACCESS: Contact Tina Marti 747-7584

NIH PUBLIC ACCESS POLICY: As of April 7, 2008, the NIH requires investigators with a publication using Siteman (or other NIH-funded) shared resources to submit (or have submitted for them) their final, peer reviewed manuscripts to PubMed Central(PMC) upon acceptance of publication, to be made publicly available within 12 months of publication. Many journals automatically submit these for authors, but Washington University also has assistance available through the Becker Medical Library. Please see,upon%20acceptance%20of%20the%20publication for more information.

PUBLICATION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: If research supported by the Immunomonitoring Laboratory results in publication, please acknowledge this support by including the following in your publication(s):

We thank the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, MO., for the use of the Immunomonitoring Laboratory, which provided __________ service. The Siteman Cancer Center is supported in part by an NCI Cancer Center Support Grant #P30 CA091842.