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Adaptive Biotechnologies, U of Florida, Kings College London Collaborate on Diabetes Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The University of Florida and Kings College London have received a $3.7 million grant to study the immune repertoire profiles of type 1 diabetes.

The researchers will collaborate with Adaptive Biotechnologies to sequence immune repertoire profiles using its ImmunoSeq assay. Researchers from the University of Oslo will also collaborate on bioinformatics and machine learning. 

Adaptive is providing $1.8 million in in-kind support, while the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsey Charitable Trust is contributing $1.9 million in funding.

The goal is to sequence T cell receptors of individuals with type 1 diabetes to try and identify a molecular signature of the disease. Todd Brusko, a diabetes researcher at the University of Florida and co-principal investigator of the project, said in a statement that focusing on T cell receptors will be important because "they play a role in the autoimmune process that destroy insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas."

Mark Peakman, an immunology professor at Kings College London and co-PI, added: "The idea is to track the development of these receptors over time because some of them go on to cause disease."

Researchers hope that the study could help identify an immune repertoire molecular signature that would aid in predicting those at risk as well as tracking response to therapy.

Harlan Robins, head of innovation at Adaptive, said that the company also plans to use the data generated from the collaboration as part of its work on developing an antigen map to "decipher how the human immune system recognizes and combats disease."

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