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Let’s get serious about spatial – A Spatial Biology US conference recap

A Conference Dedicated to Spatial Biology

Are you suffering from a case of FOMO? Well don’t fret because here is the recap.

Fall is the season for many things—the changing of leaves, the end of summer, and the start of conferences. Every week there seems to be another meeting, tradeshow, or event that you need to be at. At Akoya, it is no different . We have been traversing the globe with stops in Australia’s Gold Coast, Beijing, The Netherlands, and Germany, but we had our calendar circled for one stop in particular. Spatial Biology US, a conference conveniently located in our back yard of Boston, Massachusetts. This show was a truly awesome experience, Presented by Oxford Global and taking place between September 15-16 we Akoyans summed it up by saying ‘If you aren’t here, then you’re not serious about Spatial’.

Briefly, Spatial Biology is the study of how the location of cells across different disease states of a tissue can influence human health and disease progression. Hallmarks of this field include spatial organization and context. Context is essential to understanding how cells organize and interact across a tissue landscape and how these interactions may be able to inform the response to a therapy of a diseased tissue. The young yet burgeoning field of Spatial Biology has seen massive innovation within the last several years including novel instrumentation, thought provoking theoretical frameworks, and overall discovery. The innovations seen throughout the field of Spatial Biology have prompted an outgrowth of more and more conferences dedicated to these concepts.

Spatial Biology US boasted well over 100 attendees, 250 leading biotech, pharma, and academic delegates, and more than 40 presentations, case studies, and roundtable panel discussions. This in-person event included coverage of the latest spatial developments across, genomics, and multiomics, applications of spatial research, spatial research in pharma, and spatial bioinformatics, data analysis and modeling. Attendees were a mix of scientific and academic folks from academia, as well as big and small pharma and biotechnology.

Thank you to all who attended Akoya’s booth during the Spatial Biology US conference. If you didn’t catch us this year, we hope to see you next year!

While in attendance Akoya was afforded the opportunities to engage with the conference patrons and discuss challenges presented by the field of Spatial Biology including those across the research continuum (discovery, translational, and clinical research). We also got to hear about the development and advancement of various spatial data analysis tools & applications. Computation in Spatial Biology is a growing area of interest, and many interactive sessions helped us to consider ways Akoya can help in tackling issues related to data bottlenecks.

What Akoya Brought to the Table

Akoya Biosciences is The Spatial Biology Company™, so we were naturally very excited to have a presence at Spatial Biology US, which was the third and final Spatial Biology conference hosted by Oxford Global this year (Oxford Global organizes Spatial Biology EU and UK typically in the Spring or early Summer and we are hoping they expand their presence on the West Coast of the US in the coming years). At our booth we had the chance to give visitors a glimpse of the PhenoCycler-Fusion and PhenoImager HT. The PhenoCycler-Fusion is the fastest Spatial Biology solution on the market, with its high-speed state-of-the-art imaging system coupled with automated fluidics control. The PhenoCycler-fusion enables users to capture every detail across whole slides giving users the ability to view and characterize every single cell, even subcellular signatures, driving unbiased discovery and maximizing the insights from a given tissue. PhenoImager HT is our translational platform powered by patented Multispectral Imaging (MSI) Technology and is the fastest quantitative digital pathology imaging platform available, enabling rapid and accurate spatial phenotyping at scale.

Ani Presenting

Dr. Ani Solanki presenting spatial multiomic data generating using the PhenoCycler-Fusion system

On the first day of the conference Akoya hosted a presentation covering applications and technologies for Spatial Biology, namely spatial multiomics enabled by PhenoCycler-Fusion. Dr. Aniruddh Solanki, Senior Manager, Global Market Development at Akoya, discussed data captured using Akoya‘s novel multiomic workflow which was used to measure RNA targets with a 102-plex panel, and protein targets with a 104-plex panel. Once consistency across RNA and protein readouts was established, a first-of-its-kind, same-section multiomic spatial phenotyping experiment was performed. While showing data from the same section multimoics assay—generated on human head and neck cancer FFPE tissue—Dr. Solanki explained how Akoya’s RNA chemistry does not impact the ability to detect proteins and vice versa. He further explained how same-section multiomic spatial phenotyping in head and neck cancer tissues enabled spatial projection of key cell types through clustering of the multiomic datasets. Importantly, measuring both protein and RNA within the same section enabled the discovery of a key immune infiltrating tumor region—only seen when detecting both protein and RNA targets simultaneously. For a deep dive into Akoya’s multiomic workflow and the data generated using these techniques, check out this webinar to learn more.

Akoya is proud to have participated in Spatial Biology US and we look forward to watching the number of spatial die-hards grow year over year. We are just getting started!

Author: James DeRosa, MPH

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