The Smartest Member of the Team
IMUImmune System

The Smartest Member of the Team

The Smartest Member of the Team

December 2, 2021

We bring several things together to make IMU a reality. First and foremost, we have our own immunological, scientific and clinical expertise in the team. But we're also powered by the very best technology available. Incredible data processing tech and analytical tools enable us to do what we do.

Introducing you to flow cytometry

With this tool behind us, and the developments possible with it, we’re powered by a serious tech. We wanted to give you an insight into what it does and how it helps us to unlock the secrets of your immune system.

We start by separating out all the immune cells (white blood cells) from the small blood sample we collect from you. What we collectively call “immune cells” are actually an incredibly complex mix of 100s of different types of cells, each with its own role and specialisation within the immune system. To understand your immune system, we need to know how many of each of these types of cells are present in your blood and how each of them is behaving.

To be able to identify all the cells from your blood sample we first need to label them. We add a cocktail of molecules that bind specifically to certain proteins expressed on the surface of each cell type that make up your immune system. These molecules are all fluorescent and, importantly, they all emit light of a different colour.

The next thing we do is measure the amount and the colour of the light that fluoresces from each cell. We do this one cell at a time by firing all of your immune cells in single-file through an array of laser beams. By collecting and analysing all the light, we can identify all the different cells in a blood sample. This all happens incredibly quickly - we can analyse thousands of your immune cells every second. This generates an incredibly complex set of data comprising millions of individual measurements and, ultimately, an extremely detailed picture of your immune system.

What happens next is a story for another time but suffice to say, millions of data points give us a vast array of information to correlate and generate new levels of understanding about your health and the health of immune systems in general.