Study published in Nature Medicine Highlights use of Vizgen MERSCOPE® Platform for Understanding Effects of Neoadjuvant Immunotherapy for Patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC)

Study underscores broad applicability of Vizgen to advance human health


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. June 20, 2023— Vizgen, the life science company dedicated to improving human health by visualizing single-cell spatial genomics information, today announced publication of a study in the June issue of Nature Medicine conducted by Drs. Assaf Magen and Pauline Hamon in the Miriam Merad lab at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The spatial characterization described in this study was enabled by the company’s spatial transcriptomics MERSCOPE® Platform, which simplifies and empowers the entire workflow from sample preparation through data visualization.

The study, “Intratumoral dendritic cell–CD4+ T helper cell niches enable CD8+ T cell differentiation following PD-1 blockade in hepatocellular carcinoma,” leveraged a large neoadjuvant PD-1 blockade trial in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to search for correlates of response to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) within T-cell rich tumors. Integration of single-cell RNA and TCR sequencing, together with several imaging approaches suggested that T cell activation and expansion occurs predominately at the tumor site and is promoted by CXCL13+ CD4 T cells and mregDCs (mature dendritic cells that have captured tumor antigens). These data provide the closest cellular resolution of T cell diversity in PD-1 treated patients seen in HCC. These findings could be used to develop new therapies targeting these cellular triads.

“Vizgen was developed precisely for the type of work conducted in this study and it is immensely gratifying to see our spatial transcriptomics platform play an important role in evaluating and imaging gene panels and in understanding cellular role and function in this clinical trial, which could ultimately improve tumor response to treatment,” said Terry Lo, President and CEO of Vizgen. “We look forward to the continued demonstration of Vizgen’s multiplexing, high resolution in situ MERSCOPE Platform’s potential in empowering future breakthrough biological discoveries.”

Surgical resection is traditionally the preferred treatment for HCC, a rare, aggressive type of liver cancer that is only variably responsive to chemotherapy, and more than half of these tumors recur within 2 years. Neoadjuvant immune checkpoint blockade targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 axis has been successful in inducing pathological response and preventing recurrence in multiple tumor types, in part by driving the expansion of tumor-specific T cells, which may also induce systemic immunity and eliminate micrometastases. This neoadjuvant clinical trial for early-stage HCC patients, led by Drs. Thomas Marron and Myron Schwartz, in which treatment-naive patients received two doses of PD-1 blockade prior to surgery, observed a 30% pathological response rate, which prompted a more detailed investigation into the cellular and molecular pathways that promote an effective anti-tumor immune response.

“I am excited about the high quality of the data produced by this study and the important implications this has for HCC and cancer biology as a whole,” said Jiang He, PhD, Scientific Co-founder and Senior Director of Scientific Affairs of Vizgen. “We hypothesize that this interaction between mregDCs, helper cells and T cells could be critical across multiple other cancers. We hope this is the first of many discoveries driving insight into PD-1 therapy and advancing our treatment of cancer patients.”

About Vizgen

Vizgen is dedicated to pioneering the next generation of genomics, providing tools that demonstrate the possibilities of in situ single-cell spatial genomics, setting the standard for the spatial genomics field. These tools are enabling researchers to gain new insight into the biological systems that govern human health and disease with spatial context. The company’s MERSCOPE® Platform enables massively multiplexed, genome-scale nucleic acid imaging with high accuracy and unrivaled detection efficiency at subcellular resolution. MERSCOPE provides transformative insight into a wide range of tissue-scale basic research and translational medicine in oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious disease, developmental biology, cell and gene therapy, and is an essential tool for accelerating drug discovery and development. For more information, go to www.vizgen.com. Connect on social media Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.




Holly Hancock

MacDougall Advisors




Brittany Auclair