Publication in Press in Journal of Immunological Methods – “Estimating the ratio of CD4 + to CD8 + T cells using high-throughput sequence data”
SEATTLE, WA, February 25, 2013 – Scientists at Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation, a leading provider of next generation sequencing assays for the adaptive immune system, have published a paper in the upcoming edition of the Journal of Immunological Methods that demonstrates a new method for determining the relative proportions of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. The new methodology uses Adaptive’s ImmunoSEQ immune profiling technology and can deliver results that have previously required a combination of flow cytometry in addition to next generation sequencing.
The research by Adaptive scientists focuses on T cells, which are an integral component of the adaptive immune system and can be sorted into two subpopulations based on the presence of either the CD4 or the CD8 protein on the cell surface. Harlan Robins, co-founder of Adaptive and leader of the research team, explained, “The distinction between CD4+ and CD8+ T cells is important in immunology and can be very useful, for example, in developing prognostic indicators for cancers that induce a response from the adaptive immune system.”
However, determining the ratio of CD4+ to CD8+ T cells present in a sample currently requires an additional flow cytometry processing step. For some sample types – including solid tumor biopsies – flow cytometry can be prohibitively difficult, limiting researchers’ and clinicians’ access to important immunological information.
In the published paper, the researchers demonstrate that the T cell receptor (TCR) gene, which is heavily modified at the genomic level as part of T cell maturation, tends to differ between CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells. The scientists use these differences to develop and implement a computational method that relies on DNA sequencing of the T cell receptor gene, using immunoSEQ, to estimate the relative proportions of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in a biological sample.
“We believe our computational method for determining the CD4:CD8 ratio in T cell samples from sequence data will provide additional useful information for any samples on which high-throughput TCR sequencing is performed, including solid tumors,” said Robins.
The paper published in the February edition of the Journal of Immunological Methods can be found online here. Published paper »
About Adaptive Biotechnologies
Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation (http://www.adaptivebiotech.com), headquartered in Seattle, WA, is pioneering the field of genomic immunology. The company’s core competency is developing next generation sequencing assays that characterize the adaptive immune system, serving as a platform technology to the research and clinical communities as well as the biopharmaceutical industry. Adaptive operates a state-of-the-art high throughput centralized laboratory in Seattle that is CLIA certified and will be accepting clinical samples in 2013. Its flagship commercial product, immunoSEQ (http://www.immunoSEQ.com), uses a proprietary immune profiling assay to analyze T cells and B cells – critical components of the adaptive immune system’s defense against disease – with unprecedented depth and specificity. In 2013, the company will introduce clonoSEQ (http://www.clonoseq.com),a clinical assay to measure and monitor minimal residual disease (MRD) in a range of blood-based cancers that is significantly more sensitive than today’s most common tests. All of Adaptive Biotechnologies’ assays are coupled with a cloud-computing infrastructure that simplifies the interpretation of massive quantities of data in a user-friendly interface.
About Dr. Harlan Robins
Dr. Robins obtained his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University (1995) as a physics major with a concentration in mathematics. He then obtained his Masters and Ph.D. in theoretical physics (string theory) from the University of California Berkeley with a visiting appointment to the California Institute of Technology (“Caltech”). Dr. Robins obtained a postdoctoral appointment in theoretical physics in the particle theory group at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Interested in the mathematics behind genetics and observing the potential utility of high-level mathematics to study problems in the biological sciences, Dr. Robins took another postdoctoral appointment at the Institute for Advance Study at Princeton University in 2002 to study under the famed biologist Dr. Arnold Levine. Working with Dr. Levine at Princeton, Dr. Robins concentrated on developing bioinformatic algorithms for messenger RNA targets and bacterial genome analysis, a precursor to his current faculty appointment (2006) at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the Computational Biology Group, Public Health Sciences and Human Biology Divisions. In August of 2009, Dr. Robins was the recipient of the Ellison Award from the Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholars Program to support new investigators of outstanding promise in the basic biological sciences.