Frontline techniques reveal immune system dynamics after immunotherapy

Published: 2017-08-30


By combining new systems biological analyses and advanced data analysis, a recent study led by Petter Brodin (Karolinska Institutet/SciLifeLab) have been able to monitor the maturation process of the immune system in leukaemia patients who have undergone stem cell transplantation. The findings reveal patterns that can be linked to clinical complications in the patients.

Allogeneic stem cell transplantation to leukaemic patients, in which the patient’s own diseased bone marrow is replaced by healthy donor material, is one of the best-established and most effective immunological therapies. In some patients, however, the grafted immune system fails to mature properly, which can cause serious infection, undesired attacks on healthy tissue or a cancer relapse.

The current study involved monitoring the patients for one year after completed stem cell transplantation and used mass cytometry to study the different cell types of the immune system and the so called ProSeek method for simultaneous protein analysis. The analyses were then combined with modern machine learning techniques for data analysis, which enabled the integration of all data and global analyses of the entire immune system in blood.

This novel approach, which reveals complex interactions between cells and proteins, can also be used for other diseases to generate new knowledge about the regulation and dysregulation of the immune system, which can eventually give rise to new, improved immunological therapies. It is also applicable to other diseases involving the immune system, such as autoimmune diseases, allergies and infections.

Read the press release by Karolinska Institutet

Read the full article in Cell Reports