Researcher Spotlight: Dr. Stephen Devereux
Stephen Devereux, PhD, FRCP, FRCPath, has worked as a Consultant Haematologist at King’s College Hospital in London since 1999, and was recently awarded the title of Professor for his “enormous commitment toward first rate patient care, as well as pushing the research boundaries in his field.”
His main clinical interest is in the treatment of lymphoid malignancies, particularly Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL).
He has a long involvement in clinical trials, as both a chief and principle investigator, and also leads an internationally competitive laboratory research group focused on the biology of CLL.
Since January 2010, he has been Clinical Director of the South London Comprehensive Research Network.
Researching T Cells in the Tumor Microenvironment
“Over the past five years, my group have been interested in the role of T cells in the tumor microenvironment,” explained Dr. Devereux, who recently began using the immunoSEQ technology to look at the antigen specificity of T cells in CLL. “There’s evidence that T cells are chronically activated in CLL and we believe they may be very important in supporting the growth of the leukemia”
With the help of immunoSEQ and its scientific advisors, Professor Devereux and his team are investigating the repertoire of T cell receptors from different tissues of patients with CLL to look for evidence of antigen specific responses.
The traditional way to measure this has been to use spectratyping and calculate the length of the CDR3 hyper-variable region.
Role of immunoSEQ
ImmunoSEQ’s deep sequencing approach provides a much higher resolution than traditional spectratyping that allows individual T cell clones to be identified and tracked
“We have a number of studies underway using immunoSEQ, and we’re very excited about the preliminary results,” said the professor.
“immunoSEQ has been a valuable resource in helping us interpret a huge amount of data in a surprisingly intuitive manner. The tools are very accessible and it’s been relatively easy to ask questions of the data and see results.”
Initially, the research group considered developing its own solution, but once the team discovered immunoSEQ, it quickly realized it would be much quicker and more cost effective to use the available tools “particularly for the analysis.”
Dr. Devereux and his team are currently writing up the results, and hope to submit their findings within the next month.
When asked if he’d recommend immunoSEQ to his colleagues, Dr. Devereux was emphatic, “I already have!.”