A New Approach to Fighting Disease
We are developing the first AI model of the human immune system.
Merging Artificial Intelligence and Biomedicine
Inside each of us lies a vast potential to fight disease. From viral and parasitic to bacterial infections and cancers, the immune system is the human body’s primary defence mechanism. Due to its immense scale, scientists have never been able to characterize the core parts by which it adapts to and fights disease.
But dramatic technological advances in genomics, bioinformatics, and frontier computing make it now possible to decode the human immune system for the first time. To achieve this goal, our scientific plan focuses on three areas:
- Understanding the rules and components of immunity
- Creating AI-driven models of immunity
- Establishing the blueprint for next generation vaccines and immunotherapies
In the first three years of the Human Immunome Project, we have already:
- Open sourced the first sequencing of the human immune system.
- Used machine learning to predict who will and will not respond to vaccination.
- Established one of the world’s leading scientific consortiums across industry, government, and academia.
In the next five years, we aim to accomplish the following:
- Finish the initial genetic sequencing of the human immune system.
- Determine the initial rules by which the immune system fights disease.
- Develop the first AI models of the human immune system.
Successfully achieving these objectives will significantly advance our ability to combat disease, and directly enable scientists around the globe to develop potent vaccines and therapeutics against humanity’s most devastating diseases.
Understanding the Rules of Immunity
Our scientists conduct some of the most intensive and comprehensive clinical studies ever undertaken to understand principles of human immunity. We seek to understand why some people respond to vaccines and immunotherapies, while others do not, and translate those insights into long-term protection from disease for people across the globe. Our studies include people of varying ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds across the globe to answer key questions:
- Why are some people protected from disease while others remain healthy?
- Why do some people respond to cancer immunotherapy while others do not?
- Why are some vaccines more effective for certain populations than others?
Turning Data Into Insights
Our unique consortium model breaks down traditional barriers between the biological and computer sciences. Leading bioinformatics researchers work with top vaccine scientists to design, implement, and analyze outputs from our scientific studies.
As a global nonprofit, we are committed to open-source access to our data. We are working with leading cloud-based and machine learning platforms to enable access to our data, leveraging the expertise from the global research community.
Study Highlight: Decoding the Immunome
Nature has published the first results of our effort to sequence the human immunome. Led by Dr. James E. Crowe at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the study shows the potential of our approach in merging cutting-edge biological research with frontier of computing advancements to decode the human immune system.
This work begins to define, for the first time, the genetic underpinnings of our ability to respond and adapt to an immense number of disease threats. Until now, this was considered too large and complex a project to undertake, as the human immune system is billions of times larger than the human genome.
We established key initiatives and partnerships to focus on those most at risk of disease and the hardest to protect.