iReceptor: Bioinformatic Platform for Storing and Sharing Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Data from Immune Repertoires

Felix Breden1,2, Nishanth Marthanda1,3, Bojan Zimonja1, Jerome Jaglale1, Jamie K. Scott1,3,4, and Brian Corrie1

1. The IRAMCS Centre, 2. Dept. of Biological Sciences, 3. Dept. Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and 4. Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, V5A 1S6 Canada

The diversity of the human Immune Repertoire (IR) (antibody/B-cells or T-cells) is huge; due to somatic recombination, imprecise joining and somatic hypermutation there are as many as 1012 possible B-cell receptor sequences, and the human body can contain up to 1011 lymphocytes (B- or T-cell receptor producing cells). Only within the past 5 years has Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) been applied to these repertoires, such that we can now characterize them in depth by sequencing millions of these receptors per sample.

NGS sequencing is critical for an increasing number of biomedical and patient care applications: design of vaccines and therapeutic antibodies, research on autoimmune diseases, screening for mixed residual disease, and cancer immunotherapy. Only by analyzing these data across studies, with associated data on patient demography, treatment and clinical outcome, will the true potential of this NGS revolution in immunotherapy be realized. However, at present, there is no way to easily share and compare these data sets between studies and institutions.

The revolutionary iReceptor Gateway developed at the IRMACS Centre at SFU with funding from CANARIE will link Canadian and international antibody and T-cell receptor databases, thus allowing the query of these databases for sequences satisfying specific criteria. iReceptor implements a distributed data set model, such that researchers can store their data under their own IRB constraints, and release these data to other nodes in the iReceptor environment based on shared consent, reciprocal material transfer and IP agreements.

In order to address all of the challenges involved in sharing these data, we are organizing a Community Meeting May 29-June 1 2015 in Vancouver. In addition to producers of these data. this meeting will bring together experts in consent and confidentiality, data security, and the legal, ethical and IP challenges inherent in sharing biomedical data. We expect to develop action plans and recommendations that will be used to make repertoire NGS data production, analysis and sharing across academia and industry as seamless as possible, while recognizing the rights of and responsibilities to the donor communities and taxpayers.