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TCR repertoire sequencing

T-cell RECEPTOR repertoire profiling

T-cells are key players of the adaptive immune system. These immune cells use their receptors to recognise and eliminate pathogens and establish immunological memory. Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) has caused many different scientific fields to move from laborious cell experiments to high-throughput sequencing. This revolution has also made it into the field of immunology with the development of different sequencing applications. These include the possibility to profile a person’s complete T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire be it at single-cell level or through bulk sequencing. This article provides a great introduction into the technology of TCR repertoire sequencing and gives a good overview of all available protocols.

A laboratory robot that prepares samples to peform DNA-sequencing, such as TCR repertoire sequencing, which can be useful for immune monitoring of vaccines
NGS allowed the advent of TCR repertoire sequencing

The potential of the TCR repertoire

Each T-cell receptor in a T-cell receptor repertoire can recognise one or multiple pathogens.

T-cells are often seen as the immunological memory of the  body. Many infections, diseases, vaccinations and therapies leave signatures in the TCR repertoire that can be used to analyse a patient’s immunological history. Similarly, the repertoire can be used as a tool to diagnose a current disease by looking at what TCRs are clonally expanded. For these reasons it has been argued that the “The Future of Blood Testing Is the Immunome“. It is an all-round tool that can be used to perform in-depth monitoring of immune responses.

At ImmuneWatch, we even take this a step further and
use the TCR repertoire to make predictions about future immune responses. How will the immune system respond to a certain therapy or vaccine? Can we differentiate responders from non-responders? See our eLife study on Hepatitis B vaccination for an example of such a prediction.

At ImmuneWatch we believe that sequencing and analyzing the human T-cell receptor repertoire will lead to a better understanding of immune responses in the fields of infectious diseases, oncology and auto-immune diseases.

Building better vaccines and immune therapies starts with improved monitoring of the T-cell response.

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