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University: University of Glasgow

Sector(s): Life Sciences, Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

About Opportunity:

The T-cell has an essential role in the adaptive immune system. The breadth and specificity of recognition of antigens by T cells is conferred by a process of gene rearrangement that generates a diverse repertoire of T cell receptors (TCR) on T cells, or clonotypes. There is much interest in defining clonotypes in the context of infections, autoimmune diseases, and cancer immunology, either as predictors of disease outcome or as potential therapeutic targets.

ALPHABETR is computational method for accurately pairing gene sequences of the two chains of the TCR obtained from repeated samples of T-cells from an individual.

ALPHABETR is able to recover both common and rare clonotypes; it also yields estimates of their relative abundances, and so generates a richly detailed description of the clonal composition and diversity of a target population of T cells. It is more economic, scalable and can provide greater depth of recovery of clones than currently-available single-cell sequencing methods, and with smaller samples of T cells. ALPHABETR is readily applicable in both basic and clinical immunology investigations.

Key Benefits:

  • Previous methods are technically challenging, laborious and non-scalable
  • It is designed specifically for antigen-specific cells
  • It is an accurate approach for characterising antigen-specific T cell populations


  • The method enhances clinical insight in infections, autoimmune diseases and cancer immunology

IP Status:

A provisional UK application (UK Application 1600584.5) was first filed in January 2016, and a US patent application METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR MEASURING T CELL DIVERSITY US 15/405,181, was filed in January 2017.

The research team would be interested in working with basic and clinical immunologists who would be interested to evaluate ALPHABETR, possibly via submission of their data to a web portal for analysis.


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