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Research & Application

Areas of interest

Discovery the versatility of immune repertoire analysis

Learn how the unprecedented breadth, depth, and precision of immune repertoire analysis is significantly transforming various areas of biomedical sciences.

 

Immuno-oncology

Modulation and modification of cells of the adaptive immune system has become a powerful weapon to combat cancer.

Developements in the field of immuno-oncology are progressing at a rapid pace. Novel immunotherapeutic intervention strategies in the form of checkpoint inhibitors, adoptive cell therapy, and monoclonal antibodies are explored in clinical trial around the world. Repertoire sequencing provides insights that can help accellerate drug development, enable treatment monitoring in clinical trial, and support the development of new biomarkers of clinical response.

Cancer vaccines

Unlike conventional vaccination strategies, cancer vaccines are designed to mount responses against tumor-specific antigens, arising from somatic mutations specific to the cancer genome. They promise a highly tailored approach by targeting patient-specific neoantigens.

The effectivity and ease of administration of vaccines have enabled their widespread use as the most imporant measure to protect from infectious disease. While cancer vaccines hold similar promise, their effectivity in clinical trials has so far been limited. More research is needed to understand the steps required to generate an effective anti-tumor immune response through vaccination. Combining high-resolution single-cell immunosequencing and broad-level bulk repertoire sequencing can provide important insights into the mechanistic underpinnings of vaccine-driven immune responses and advance both fundamental and translational research.

Vaccine development

Autoimmunity

High-throughput analysis of immune repertoires has contributed to the elucidation of mechanistic underpinings of autoimmunity, driving the development of novel therapies and better diagnostics.

Autoimmune diseases affect 3% of the global population and this number has been increasing over the past decades. Autoimmune reactions are caused by specific immune responses which leave a molecular imprint on the B cell repertoire. These imprints contain valuable information which can be extracted though high-throughput analysis of immune repertoires. Repertoire sequencing has the potential to transform our understanding of autoimmune responses by generating important mechanistic insights, ultimately improving diagnostics and guiding the development of novel therapies.

Autoimmunity

Infectious diseases

No single preventive health intervention is more cost-effective than immunization. Immune repertoire analysis has taken a predominant role in the development of vaccination strategies against infectious disease and has enabled characterization of the immune response against pathogens at high resolution.

Exposure to pathogens leads to clonal expansion and selection of a subset of highly specific immune cells. Analysis of repertoire sequencing data can be used to characterize the immune response at a high resolution and enables the identification of convergent immune responses amongst patients. This information can help guide the development of novel therapeutics such as monoclonal antibodies and vaccines, or enable early detection of diseases.

Transplantation

The immune response that occurs when an organ or tissue is transplanted (grafted) from one individual to another is referred to as a graft versus host response. This presents a major problem following transplantation as the immune system of the recipient sees the grafted tissue as foreign and proceeds to attack it.

Organ, tissue, and stem cell transplantations save thousands of lives each year. Immune rejection poses a barrier to successful transplantation and often requires transplant recipients to take lifelong immunosuppressive drugs, making them highly susceptible to opportunistic infections. Immune repertoire analysis enables the identification and tracking of clones involved in the graft versus host response ocurring after transplantation. This information can aid in more accurate prognosis, tailoring treatment strategies and, eventually, the development of targeted drugs with less side-effects.

Immune system research

Immune repertoire analyses are ideally suited to dissect and help untangle the complexity and plasticity of the immune system, as well as its function and – most importantly – disfunction.

The immune system is a highly dynamic system involved in many aspects of human health. Increasing our understanding of the fundamentals of immunology in health and disease will further grow the field of application for immunotherapeutics. Immune repertoire analysis can be applied to study the effects that aging, environmental impact, and genetic background have on the immune repertoire. New technologies such as single-cell sequencing provide ways to study the immune cell composition of (disease) tissues and the cellular heterogeneity in their microenvironment. The insights gathered can provide answers to both fundamental questions on health and disease, as well as provide avenues for the development of novel therapeutics.