Five to six years ago, researchers were able to sequence hundreds of immune-system molecules (like antibodies) in the human body. Today they can sequence tens of millions.

How?

To facilitate this study of immunogenetics, researchers at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, have created a Research Software Platform called iReceptor. A secure, distributed database, this tool enables researchers to share and analyse huge datasets via National Research and Education Networks. What makes this tool particularly exciting is its ability to include metadata (such as gender, ethnicity, treatment, and outcome), allowing researchers to understand which conditions activate or suppress various immune system genes.

Because iReceptor pools scarce data in a secure way, research from multiple angles of a specific condition can illuminate immune system failures, pointing to clinical treatments for rare conditions as well as commonly occurring diseases. And that opens up a whole new era of better treatments and even cures for the 80+ autoimmune diseases known to us.

Read how Canadian NREN Canarie supports researchers, in the full post on the In The Field blog.

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