Multicellular modules as clinical diagnostic and therapeutic targets

Trends Cancer. 2022 Mar;8(3):164-173. doi: 10.1016/j.trecan.2021.11.004. Epub 2021 Dec 3.


The complex determinants of health and disease can be determined when approached as a system of interactions of biological agents at different scales. Similar to the physicochemical properties that govern nucleic acids and proteins, there should be a finite set of rules that dictate the behavior of cells to form tissues. Thus, the occurrence of disease can be seen as flaws in processes that are governed by rules pertaining to multicellular structures. Multiplexed imaging is a technology that connects information that bridges multiple biological scales (i.e., molecules, cells, and tissues) and enables elucidation of rules associated with the formation of multicellular structures. Uncovering important multicellular structures associated with disease will propel a wave of development of new categories of diagnostics and therapeutics.

Keywords: cancer immunotherapy; diagnostics; multicellular structures; multiplexed tissue imaging; spatial biology; therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Proteins*


  • Proteins