June 25, 2021

An Exciting Future Is Coming at Us … Fast!

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Headshot of Mark Adams
Mark Adams, PhD; Chief Operating Officer

Take a step back for a minute and think about how all the exciting progress we are seeing in so many aspects of healthcare. Biology and technology are converging in amazing ways, helping us to make remarkable headway against serious diseases every single day.

STAT’s recent Health Tech Summit spotlighted this incredible convergence, covering the impact of technology on everything in healthcare from the advances against COVID-19 to emerging diagnostics and therapeutics to purchasing prescription medicines online.

The breakneck speed at which technology is improving healthcare, including disease diagnosis and treatment, was also a major focus of my fireside chat at the summit with STAT Co-Founder and Executive Editor, Rick Berke.

This accelerated progress is enabled by the way in which our industries are increasing and supporting one another, and the intersection of biotech and technology has been an important part of Adaptive’s story since we began over 10 years ago. Technology is an intrinsic part of our immune medicine platform, enabling us to read and translate the genetics of the human immune system with the precision and speed necessary to develop clinical products. And as I discussed with Rick, our ability to do just that has dramatically improved in recent years, bringing us closer to our goal of transforming how disease is diagnosed and ultimately treated.

At Adaptive, we are partnered with Microsoft, where we leverage their expertise in machine learning and cloud computing to the development of our immune medicine platform. Our partnership enabled us to go much faster to analyze the DNA sequence data from T cells to identify unique immune signatures for diseases, effectively developing a map of the immune system and generating massive amounts of data on how our bodies naturally detect and treat disease. In effect, we are using the human immune system as a remarkably sensitive diagnostic tool for a range of diseases.

The cost of DNA sequencing has decreased significantly over the years, making it more accessible and cost-effective for a wide range of applications. Similarly, technologies undergoing rapid development and improvement such as AI/ML and the computing resources that cloud computing is making readily available create synergies that biotechnology companies are increasingly making use of to spur innovation. Together, these tools have accelerated our understanding of disease and the immune response to disease, fundamentally altering the way diagnostics and therapeutics are researched and developed.

Need can create demands which crystalizes rapid change. For example, prior to the pandemic, mRNA vaccine technology with decades of research and development behind it was already being investigated in infectious diseases and cancer – this was rapidly leveraged to bring very high-quality mRNA-based COVID vaccines to the world in record time.

At Adaptive, we quickly expanded our partnership with Microsoft to make insights into the immune response to disease publicly available to researchers, and also delivered T-Detect™ COVID – the first in a pipeline of T cell-based diagnostic tests – while still continuing our pursuit of developing diagnostics in other important diseases like Lyme disease or Crohn’s disease. The speed and precision at which we were able to gather and obtain this depth of understanding about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and our immune response at the population level would not have been possible even just a few years ago.  

It’s truly incredible what the convergence of biotech and technology brought us during the pandemic –safe and effective first-in-class vaccines, therapies and diagnostics for a complicated and devastating disease – all in less than a year. These examples all leverage new synergies between new and established technologies in an innovative and high-demand environment. And the success stories will not end there.

Here at Adaptive, and throughout the biotech sector, we have accomplished much, but we have so much more to do. We are just scratching the surface in our understanding of the role our immune systems play in diagnosing and treating disease. The more we know, the better we will be able to transform and personalize medicine.

The science is exciting, but what is at stake is so much more than scientific discovery. Just ask any patient who is not responding to existing therapies for a chronic disease, or ask those struggling through a diagnostic odyssey to get answers that are critical for their health and well-being. For them, we are not resting on our progress to date. For them, we’ll keep after it, bringing the best to bear in research and technology to develop an even greater understanding of how our own immune systems detect and fight disease. For them, we’ll use this knowledge to power the age of immune medicine, utilizing the best of science and technology. That’s a real win-win

While the information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information. The information may change without notice and Adaptive Biotechnologies is not in any way liable for the accuracy of any information printed and stored or in any way interpreted and used by a user.