Areas of interest

Immuno-oncology

  • Monoclonal Antibody Therapy (mAbs) is a form of immunotherapy that poses a treatment solution for diseases ranging from multiple cancer types, to autoimmune disease, (transplant) kidney rejection and allergies. Antibody discovery is a laborious process, that critically depends on high-throughput screening of antibodies to determine antigen specificity. Immune repertoire analysis provides an accurate, sensitive and high-throughput solution for the detection and selection of potential drug candidates, thereby accelerating the discovery of mAbs.

  • Checkpoint inhibitors aim to “release the brakes” on the immune system and allow for stronger immune responses against cancer. Checkpoint inhibitors, such as CTLA-4 and PD-1/PD-L1, have been FDA approved, but have nevertheless been associated with severe side effects, demonstrating the compelling need for greater interrogation of both host and tumor factors. Immune repertoire analysis holds great promise for treatment monitoring, patient stratification, and the development of combinatory treatment strategies, contributing towards personalized, ‘first time right’ immunotherapy.

  • Adoptive T cell transfer (ACT) involves the modification and amplification of a patient’s own immune cells to generate an antitumor, antiviral, or anti-inflammatory response. T cells equipped with so called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are the most promising form of ACT therapy, and several CAR-T cell therapies have been FDA approved. Immune repertoire analysis is particularly suited for the identification CARs with the desired tumor specificity, which is key to clinical safety. Immune repertoire analysis will play an important role in monitoring the efficacy and toxicity of ACT, thereby accelerating the transition of ACT therapies to enter standard-of-care.

  • Analyses of the immune repertoire allows us to quantify tumor infiltration and study the dynamics and cellular heterogeneity of the tumor microenvironment, paving the way towards better regulation of the host immune response.

  • The very first application of immune repertoire analysis that has received FDA approval is Minimal Residual Disease (MRD) quantification in Multiple Myeloma and B cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia patients. Determining whether a patient has residual cancer cells remaining after treatment provides information on how well a patient has responded to therapy and how long remission may last. Conventional methods for MRD detection include flow cytometry and PCR, capable of measuring MRD down to 1 in 10,000 cells. The application of immune repertoire analysis has lowered the detection limit of MRD to below 1 in 1 million cells, thereby improving diagnostics and decreasing lead time to clinical relapse.