Research Tool for use in Drug and Vaccine Development to Investigate the Immune System in Response to Drug Intervention or Disease

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Research Tool for use in Drug and Vaccine Development to Investigate the Immune System in Response to Drug Intervention or Disease

Princeton Docket # 12-2831



The invention is a novel computational procedure for assessing the immune status of a subject by examining sequences from T Cells of a subject.

More specifically presented in this technology is a method for determining the statistical properties of the cellular machinery responsible for creating genetic diversity in the population of immune system T-cells in a human individual. The specific T-cell sequences in an individual change with time, but the statistical properties of the T-cell generating machinery do not (barring disease). These statistical properties are an intrinsic, individually unique, characterization of immune system status, but to date, they are not accessible to any standard analysis methodology. The purpose of this invention is to provide an effective way of accessing those properties.

The input to the procedure is DNA sequence data on T-cell genetic diversity obtained by high-throughput sequencing from a blood sample. The product is a computationally derived statistical ¿machine¿ capable of predicting the probability that a T-cell generating stem cell will, in a generative event, produce a T-cell with any specified genetic sequence.  This provides a quantitative measure of the ¿baseline¿ immune system diversity, against which changes due to immune system response to challenges can be measured.

This product has numerous potential medical uses. It is a highly specific characterization of a central property of the immune system of an individual and, as such, could be informative about the exposure to specific antigens, the occurrence of infection, the success of a drug treatment for infection, or about the occurrence or progress of an auto-immune disease. Since this invention can determine the probability that a receptor with any specific sequence will be produced in a random T-cell generating event, it may have a role to play in ¿engineering¿ the immune system to attack disease targets, such as cancer cell surface markers.




In summary, the invention provides access to a key property of the immune system that has never before been accessible. The full medical utility of this capability will only become clear after many patients and diseases have been studied in this way.


Murugan A., Mora T., Walczak A., Callan C.G., Statistical inference of the generation probability of T-cell receptors from sequence repertoires PNAS 2012 ; published ahead of print September 17, 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1212755109 

Mechanism and Potential Diversity of T-Cell Receptor Rearrangement from Sequence Repertoires, Abstract for Q-Bio, Santa-Fe, NM, August 8, 2012


 Immunology, T-Cell Receptors, VDJ rearrangement, Statistical Interference, Expectation Maximization. 


 Intellectual Property Status and technology status

Patent Pending

Princeton is seeking to identify appropriate partners for the further development and commercialization of this technology.


Laurie Tzodikov

Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing ¿ (609) 258-7256¿

Docket # 12-2831

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Laurie Tzodikov
Licensing Associates
Princeton University
Curtis Callan
Anand Murugan
Aleksandra Walczak
Thierry Mora