Landmark Cell Publication Reveals Novel Spatial Biology Discoveries Enabled by the CODEX® Platform

New peer-reviewed paper outlines novel organizing principles and spatial interactions between “neighborhoods” of cells in the tumor microenvironment of colorectal cancer.

MENLO PARK, Calif. — August 12, 2020 Akoya Biosciences, Inc., The Spatial Biology Company™, today announced the application of the CODEX® platform to a recent Cell publication titled “Coordinated Cellular Neighborhoods Orchestrate Antitumoral Immunity at the Colorectal Cancer Invasive Front.” The paper was published online in early August (Schürch et al* from the laboratory of Professor Garry Nolan, Ph.D., Stanford University).

In a seminal approach to studying the spatial biology of colorectal cancer, the authors have established a robust analytical framework to analyze highly multiplexed imaging data and, in doing so, discovered unique spatial relationships between “neighborhoods” of cells in the tumor microenvironment. Understanding the interactions between these cellular aggregates and their impact on antitumor immunity could advance our understanding of tumor progression and immunotherapy response.

The research team at Stanford and the University of Bern used the CODEX system for deep profiling of FFPE tissues from 35 advanced-stage colorectal cancer patients with more than 50 protein markers simultaneously, and at single cell resolution. As a result, the team discovered nine distinct cellular neighborhoods, each uniquely composed of certain immune and cancer cell types. These cellular neighborhoods were found to interact with one another in a manner that correlated with disease progression and prognosis.

Most recent studies have focused on the network of interactions between different cell types and their spatial context. This study places an emphasis on analyzing tissue biology at two different levels, the interacting cell types as well as the tissue regions within which they are organized. A detailed study of both levels of tissue architecture and behavior is now possible with a high dimensional imaging platform such as the CODEX® System.

“The results from our study contribute to the growing body of biological knowledge needed to improve the development of immunotherapies,” said Garry Nolan, Ph.D., the Rachford and Carlota A. Harris Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine. “Using CODEX technology for highly multiplexed imaging to study cell aggregates in situ and their impact on disease pathology and progression, we were able to gain valuable insights about how tumors can disrupt immune functionality and how antitumoral immunity requires organized, spatially-nuanced interactions between cellular neighborhoods in the tumor microenvironment. The results point to potential diagnostics and new targets for therapeutic intervention.”

Brian McKelligon, CEO of Akoya, said, “This study demonstrates not only the continued scientific leadership of the Nolan Lab in the application of advanced technologies for deep cancer profiling but also how the CODEX technology can be used to advance biological research and improve our understanding of disease mechanisms in cancer.”

For more information about CODEX, go to:

About Akoya Biosciences
Akoya Biosciences, The Spatial Biology Company™, offers the most comprehensive, end-to-end solutions for high-parameter tissue analysis from discovery through clinical and translational research, enabling the development of more precise therapies for immuno-oncology and other drug development applications. The company has two industry-leading platforms that empower investigators and researchers to gain a deeper understanding of complex diseases such as cancer, and other immune system or neurological disorders. The CODEX® system is the only benchtop platform that can quantify 40+ protein markers at single-cell resolution and is ideally suited for biomarker discovery. The Phenoptics™ platform is the only end-to-end multiplexed immunofluorescence solution with the robustness and high throughput necessary for translational research and clinical trials. For more information, please visit

*Full list of authors: Christian M. Schürch1, Salil S. Bhate1, Graham L. Barlow1, Darci J. Phillips1, Luca Noti2, Inti Zlobec2, Pauline Chu1, Sarah Black1, Janos Demeter1, David R. McIlwain1, Shigemi Kinoshita1, Nikolay Samusik1, Yury Goltsev1, Garry P.Nolan1

1 – Stanford University
2 – University of Bern

Media Contact:
Michelle Linn
Bioscribe, Inc.

Astronomy Meets Pathology: An Interdisciplinary Effort to Discover Predictive Biomarker Signatures