Immunosequencing profiles the T- and B-cell receptors, key soldiers in our immune system. By mapping the immune response, we can track reactions to medical treatment and monitor disease markers. It has found immediate application in the understanding and treatment of cancer, infectious disease, and autoimmune conditions.
The microbiome refers to the universe of microbes that live inside of us. Scientists are now quantifying how these microbes impact everything from mood to drug metabolism — suggesting that restoring microbial balance could lead to treatment of depression and anxiety, inflammatory bowel diseases, cancer, obesity, and more.
With the CRISPR-Cas9 system, scientists can incorporate changes into the genome, removing mutated genes or changing the behavior of existing genes through insertions. This has sped up genetics research and introduces a new treatment paradigm. Its first clinical trial, backed by Sean Parker of Napster fame, received backing from the National Institutes of Health in June. The trial will use CRISPR-Cas9 to alter the genes of the immune cells to attack cancer.
This is a new approach to health care, in which each person’s microbiome, genetic, and lab data pair with family history and personal habits. Local startup Arivale turns this data into a personalized coaching regime for better health. By combining this data with coaching, Arivale’s staff can partner with patients to identify conditions in transition — such as pre-
diabetes — and take steps to prevent or moderate their health outcomes.
Local Startups to Watch
Recognized as a pioneer in immunosequencing for research and clinical applications, it has built a research community through its technology, and scientists are sharing results for use in larger studies.
Led by biotech veteran Dr. Mitchell Gold, Alpine is a lean startup with a highly successful financing round under its cap. Alpine’s technology focuses on the meeting point between immune cells — known as the immune synapse. The team re-engineers immune cells to work together for cancer treatment and autoimmune diseases.
Translational Software analyzes a patient’s genetic data and known drug list to provide clinical decision support. Its software can flag drugs that may have altered effectiveness or warn of possible drug interactions.
A spinoff from the Institute for Systems Biology, and the progenitor of the scientific wellness sector, Arivale partners participants — who supply blood, gut, and genetic samples — with coaches and dieticians to use the data to improve their health. Arivale was GeekWire’s Startup of the Year for 2016.