MyCellFight project

Discovery of a biomarker signature for an adaptive immune response

© Sebastian Böhlen
In the MyCellFight project, researchers are developing an automated immune chip. Six separate cell chambers are supplied with nutrient medium by the so-called pump chips (left and right) via small tubes.

Every person is unique – also in their immunological response to a drug or chemical. To date, there is no artificial immune system available that can mimic human immune responses in vitro – outside of a living organism. The biotechnological hurdles to this are high: the tissue structure is very complex and dense and the variety of possible biological immune responses too large. In addition, there is huge variability between individuals. The aim of the MyCellFight project is to develop a fully automated immune chip able to predict the specific immune responses of individuals. Seven Fraunhofer Institutes (IGB, IMW, IOSB, IPA, ITEM, IWS and IZI) are collaborating in this project. Meanwhile, the research team has successfully accomplished a decisive step: the discovery of a biomarker signature for an adaptive immune response in T lymphocytes. This was achieved by combining the expertise of Fraunhofer ITEM in in-vitro modeling with that of Fraunhofer IZI in next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics. By meta-analysis of publicly available datasets, the biomarker signature was postulated as time-resolved gene expression pattern across different T-cell populations. The signature was subsequently matched with independent RNA sequencing data for verification. Further transcriptome-wide sequencing (next-generation sequencing) is currently in progress and it is expected that in the future it will be possible to better characterize an adaptive immune response in terms of donor and antigen diversity. This sets the stage for the next generation of efficacy and safety research, combined with functional genomics, as well as for animal-free biomedical research and development at Fraunhofer.


Katherina Sewald

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Katherina Sewald

Head of Department of Preclinical Pharmacology and In-vitro Toxicology

Phone +49 511 5350-323