Decoding Immunity: The Human Immunome Project’s Strategic Blueprint To Harness AI and Immunology

Human Immune System Artist's Concept

HIP’s Scientific Plan aims to harness recent advancements in AI and immune monitoring to decode the immune system and enhance global health outcomes.

The Human Immunome Project has released a Scientific Plan to create the world’s largest immunological dataset and develop AI models to better understand and leverage the immune system for improved health outcomes globally. The plan involves establishing global study sites and developing advanced AI tools to analyze immune system variations and responses.

The Human Immunome Project (HIP), a global nonprofit scientific initiative, released its Scientific Plan today, April 29, on World Immunology Day, the organization announced. The plan provides a detailed roadmap of how the Human Immunome Project and its network of global study sites will generate the world’s largest and most diverse immunological dataset and use these data to power publicly available AI models of the immune system.

Importance of the Immune System

“The immune system is the epicenter of human health, and our newly released Scientific Plan outlines an actionable, global strategy for how we can unlock the secrets of the immune system and harness its power to improve health for all,” said Dr. Hans Keirstead, CEO of the Human Immunome Project.

The human immune system is one of the most complex systems in the world—and one of its most important. It determines whether we survive infancy, which diseases we get, how we age, and how long we’ll live. Understanding our immune system is the key to fighting disease and improving health for all. Yet its complexity has limited our ability to tap into its potential—until now.

Human Immunome Project Logo

Human Immunome Project logo. Credit: New Division

Advancements in Immunological Research

Recent advances in immune monitoring and AI provide the tools to generate and rapidly process the trillions of datapoints required to model the immune system for the first time, to understand how it varies across individuals, and to develop targeted approaches to elongating healthspans and combatting disease.

Despite these tremendous advances, our understanding of the immune system remains limited: less than one percent of the immunological data necessary to understand immune function and diversity on a global scale are available. As such, HIP’s first mission is generating diverse immunological datasets at scale.

Global Data Collection Efforts

To generate these data, HIP is establishing a network of global study sites that reflect the diversity of humanity (across age, ethnicity, geography, sex, and socioeconomic status) and immune responses. Data will be generated through a phased approach and enabled by HIP-engineered Immune Monitoring Kits—a collection of assays and operating procedures that facilitate rapid, robust, and standardized data collection worldwide.

This collaborative, global effort will produce longitudinal, baseline datasets that enable scientists to assess developmental and age-dependent changes and computationally stitch together the health trajectory of different population groups worldwide. For more details on the global study protocol, review the summary.

Pilot Sites and AI Development

With the Scientific Plan now fully articulated, the Human Immunome Project is working to establish its initial Pilot Sites—up to 10 state-of-the-art sites that will collect data, help refine the site model, and prepare HIP for scale. These sites will be spread globally with a focus on the Global South and sub-Saharan Africa, specifically.

As data collection progresses, HIP will begin to develop AI models—first predictive, then mechanistic—that will deepen our understanding of immune responses and individual and population-based health trajectories. These models will provide a holistic view of the immune system and empower scientists with a new, transformative tool to advance drug development, strengthen personalized medicine, and increase healthspans. These data and models will additionally produce new insights relevant to nearly all health conditions, including key global health challenges related to maternal health, aging and cognitive decline, and disease evolution.

Collaboration and Refinement of the Scientific Plan

An initial draft of HIP’s Scientific Plan was shared with a group of global experts at the “Human Immunome Project Into Action Conference,” hosted at CosmoCaixa Museum of Science by the CaixaResearch Institute and HIP in November 2023. The conference provided participants an opportunity to input into the Scientific Plan and concluded with an endorsement of the mission and vision of the Human Immunome Project.

Since November, HIP’s science team, led by Dr. John Tsang, Dr. Shai Shen-Orr, and Dr. Orit Lavi, has refined the plan using feedback gathered at the conference. The result is a detailed strategy to decode and model the immune system with the ultimate goal of improving health for all.

“The Human Immunome Project is at the cutting edge of scientific discovery and is uniquely positioned to provide the scientific and medical communities with the knowledge and tools to innovate new diagnostics, drugs, vaccines, and immunotherapies that can address disease, elongate healthspans, and enable more personalized and more effective healthcare for all. I could not be prouder to lead this global effort,” said Dr. Keirstead.

2 Comments on "Decoding Immunity: The Human Immunome Project’s Strategic Blueprint To Harness AI and Immunology"

  1. Charles G. Shaver | April 29, 2024 at 7:12 am | Reply

    According to WHO dot int, 9 Dec 2020, “At a global level, 7 of the 10 leading causes of deaths in 2019 were noncommunicable diseases. These seven causes accounted for 44% of all deaths or 80% of the top 10.”

    That is just one reason why such an ill conceived and executed program to address infectious diseases is inherently doomed to fail. Another is that even when it comes to immunity, most scientists are not yet trained to factor-in Dr. Arthur F. Coca’s (by 1935; my) kind of nearly sublinical non-IgE-mediated food (minimally) allergy reactions which (based on multiple personal incidents) can adversely impact one’s resistance to infection, or officially (FDA in the US) approved food poisoning (e.g., soy, MSG and TBHQ, minimally), which can upset hormonal and/or nutritional balances long-term, adding to the list of what primarily drug oriented research can never resolve. Perhaps the greatest folly of all would be to turn all of the information gathered over to an inaccurately, incompletely programmed supercomputer that’s never known a nanosecond of illness in it’s existence. Does the old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” mean anything to these people. How about spending a tiny fraction of the allocated funds and time on finding an affordable, convenient and reliable laboratory method for identifying my kind of food allergies, so I can recommend it to others with an obvious need to know (e.g., partner Michelson’s obese female scientists; obesity being the most obvious common symptom of my kind of food allergies).

  2. So: we are going to pass on information about our genetic code not only freely and without payment but also without our given our voluntary permission?

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