Skip to main content
Local News

Microsoft, Biotech Company Seek Medical Researchers, Patient Groups to Help ‘Map’ Human Immune System

By January 14, 2019No Comments

Microsoft is seeking new research partners to join its T-cell Antigen Map project — an ongoing effort to map the human immune system.

The project launched one year ago, when Microsoft partnered with Adaptive Biotechnologies, a Seattle-based biotech company. Under the partnership, researchers at Microsoft are using artificial intelligence to help analyze Adaptive Biotechnologies’ high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics data on T-cell and B-cell receptors, which make up the immune system.

Microsoft’s vision for the project is to create a universal blood test that not only detects a wide range of diseases, but also helps researchers personalize a patient’s treatment based on their immunological history, such as what diseases they have overcome in the past.

“We set out to completely transform the way we diagnose, monitor and treat disease,” Jonathan Carlson, PhD, director of immunomics at Microsoft’s Healthcare NExT initiative, wrote in a Jan. 3 blog post. Healthcare NExT is Microsoft’s umbrella program for various AI and cloud computing projects in healthcare.

For the next step in their T-cell Antigen Map project, Microsoft and Adaptive Biotechnologies are inviting medical researchers, biobanks and patient groups to help the companies sequence T-cells from patients with one of five diseases: Type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer and Lyme disease. The companies’ short-term goal is to sequence the T-cell repertoires from 25,000 individuals affected by these conditions.