Journal of Nursing Management
Composites Part B: Engineering
Signal Transduct Target Ther
International Journal of Surgery
Cell research
The Lancet. Oncology
The Lancet. Global health
Sequential fate-switches in stem-like cells drive the tumorigenic trajectory from human neural stem cells to malignant glioma

Glioblastoma (GBM) is an incurable and highly heterogeneous brain tumor, originating from human neural stem/progenitor cells (hNSCs/hNPCs) years ahead of diagnosis. Despite extensive efforts to characterize hNSCs and end-stage GBM at bulk and single-cell levels, the de novo gliomagenic path from hNSCs is largely unknown due to technical difficulties in early-stage sampling and preclinical modeling. Here, we established two highly penetrant hNSC-derived malignant glioma models, which resemble the histopathology and transcriptional heterogeneity of human GBM. Integrating time-series analyses of whole-exome sequencing, bulk and single-cell RNA-seq, we reconstructed gliomagenic trajectories, and identified a persistent NSC-like population at all stages of tumorigenesis. Through trajectory analyses and lineage tracing, we showed that tumor progression is primarily driven by multi-step transcriptional reprogramming and fate-switches in the NSC-like cells, which sequentially generate malignant heterogeneity and induce tumor phenotype transitions. We further uncovered stage-specific oncogenic cascades, and among the candidate genes we functionally validated C1QL1 as a new glioma-promoting factor. Importantly, the neurogenic-to-gliogenic switch in NSC-like cells marks an early stage characterized by a burst of oncogenic alterations, during which transient AP-1 inhibition is sufficient to inhibit gliomagenesis. Together, our results reveal previously undercharacterized molecular dynamics and fate choices driving de novo gliomagenesis from hNSCs, and provide a blueprint for potential early-stage treatment/diagnosis for GBM.


Cell research

West China Hospital, SCU

Safety and feasibility of CRISPR-edited T cells in patients with refractory non-small-cell lung cancer

Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas9 editing of immune checkpoint genes could improve the efficacy of T cell therapy, but the first necessary undertaking is to understand the safety and feasibility. Here, we report results from a first-in-human phase I clinical trial of CRISPR-Cas9 PD-1-edited T cells in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer ( NCT02793856). Primary endpoints were safety and feasibility, and the secondary endpoint was efficacy. The exploratory objectives included tracking of edited T cells. All prespecified endpoints were met. PD-1-edited T cells were manufactured ex vivo by cotransfection using electroporation of Cas9 and single guide RNA plasmids. A total of 22 patients were enrolled; 17 had sufficient edited T cells for infusion, and 12 were able to receive treatment. All treatment-related adverse events were grade 1/2. Edited T cells were detectable in peripheral blood after infusion. The median progression-free survival was 7.7 weeks (95% confidence interval, 6.9 to 8.5 weeks) and median overall survival was 42.6 weeks (95% confidence interval, 10.3-74.9 weeks). The median mutation frequency of off-target events was 0.05% (range, 0-0.25%) at 18 candidate sites by next generation sequencing. We conclude that clinical application of CRISPR-Cas9 gene-edited T cells is generally safe and feasible. Future trials should use superior gene editing approaches to improve therapeutic efficacy.


Nature Cancer

West China Hospital, SCU

Identifying Medical Diagnoses and Treatable Diseases by Image-Based Deep Learning

The implementation of clinical-decision support algorithms for medical imaging faces challenges with reliability and interpretability. Here, we establish a diagnostic tool based on a deep-learning framework for the screening of patients with common treatable blinding retinal diseases. Our framework utilizes transfer learning, which trains a neural network with a fraction of the data of conventional approaches. Applying this approach to a dataset of optical coherence tomography images, we demonstrate performance comparable to that of human experts in classifying age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema. We also provide a more transparent and interpretable diagnosis by highlighting the regions recognized by the neural network. We further demonstrate the general applicability of our AI system for diagnosis of pediatric pneumonia using chest X-ray images. This tool may ultimately aid in expediting the diagnosis and referral of these treatable conditions, thereby facilitating earlier treatment, resulting in improved clinical outcomes. VIDEO ABSTRACT.



West China Hospital, SCU

An Epigenetic Mechanism Underlying Chromosome 17p Deletion-Driven Tumorigenesis

Chromosome copy-number variations are a hallmark of cancer. Among them, the prevalent chromosome 17p deletions are associated with poor prognosis and can promote tumorigenesis more than TP53 loss. Here, we use multiple functional genetic strategies and identify a new 17p tumor suppressor gene (TSG), plant homeodomain finger protein 23 (PHF23). Its deficiency impairs B-cell differentiation and promotes immature B-lymphoblastic malignancy. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that PHF23, an H3K4me3 reader, directly binds the SIN3-HDAC complex through its N-terminus and represses its deacetylation activity on H3K27ac. Thus, the PHF23-SIN3-HDAC (PSH) complex coordinates these two major active histone markers for the activation of downstream TSGs and differentiation-related genes. Furthermore, dysregulation of the PSH complex is essential for the development and maintenance of PHF23-deficient and 17p-deleted tumors. Hence, our study reveals a novel epigenetic regulatory mechanism that contributes to the pathology of 17p-deleted cancers and suggests a susceptibility in this disease. SIGNIFICANCE: We identify PHF23, encoding an H3K4me3 reader, as a new TSG on chromosome 17p, which is frequently deleted in human cancers. Mechanistically, PHF23 forms a previously unreported histone-modifying complex, the PSH complex, which regulates gene activation through a synergistic link between H3K4me3 and H3K27ac.


Cancer discovery

West China Hospital, SCU