​The SingHealth Duke-NUS Translational Immunology Institute (TII) recently developed an interactive online atlas of the human immunome, or genes and proteins that make up the immune system. Known as EPIC (Extended Polydimensional Immunome Characterisation), the atlas hosts a comprehensive, expanding immune cell database that can be used by the scientific community worldwide to study the mechanisms of immunity. The findings on EPIC was recently published in Nature Biotechnology.

Professor Salvatore Albani, Director of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Translational Immunology Institute and principal investigator of the study, said, “The study of the human immunome is akin to taking an MRI of the human body at the cellular level, enabling us to pinpoint what is right or wrong and what we can do to tackle disease. We hope that EPIC, used as a comprehensive dataset and analytical tool of the human immunome, will be able to help clinicians and scientists understand the mechanisms of immunity, predict clinical responses for precision medicine, and even play a part in identifying new vaccines and therapies.” Datasets available in EPIC can be mined to obtain detailed and complete information not only on individual cell subsets, but also on the evolution of the development and maturation of the immune system. This could help clinicians make informed decisions on the most suitable therapeutic choices and identify new targets for novel therapies that can match different immune systems.

Commenting on the importance of the academic medicine partnership between SingHealth and Duke-NUS in advancing the science and practice of medicine, Professor Patrick Casey, Senior Vice Dean for Research at Duke-NUS, said, “The SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC partnership has consistently shown how the intersection of education, research and clinical practice plays a critical role in translating fundamental research into discoveries that ultimately benefit patient care and clinical outcomes. I am confident EPIC, a valuable contribution of the AMC, will be a key resource in the development of new treatment strategies against diseases.”

Prof Wong Tien Yin, Deputy Group CEO (Research & Education), SingHealth said, “Translational research is a long-drawn process that can take up a lot of time and resources, and we are heartened that the SingHealth Duke-NUS AMC can play a part in facilitating this process for the scientific community through EPIC. We look forward to see how EPIC, as an intelligent immune data and analytical tool, can help streamline and accelerate immunological studies and translational research, and pave the way for more clinical breakthroughs.”