Automated analysis of flow cytometry data for the identification of cellular markers of allergy therapeutic responses
Baltimore, MD, May 13-17, 2010
Mechanistic studies of biological specimens obtain during the conduct of clinical trials are frequently used to identify markers of therapeutic responses and to understand the underlying physiological processes associated with therapeutic efficacy. The Immunology Database and Analysis Portal (ImmPort; www.immport.org) is a public database resource funded by NIAID to support the management and analysis of clinical and mechanistic data generated by their funded investigators. Here we demonstrate the use of the ImmPort clinical data management platform and novel data analysis methods in the analysis of the allergen immunotherapy experiments conducted in a clinical trial lead by Thomas Casale MD and sponsored by the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN ). In the Casale study, immune response assays were conducted on samples taken before, during and after a 12-week course of immunotherapy to investigate whether anti-IgE antibody (Omalizumab) can enhance the safety and efficacy of rush immunotherapy. Flow cytometry data was re-analyzed with FLOCK, a novel automated flow cytometry analysis pipeline in ImmPort, to determine if the level of any blood cell population correlated with treatment conditions. The analysis has identified a unique peripheral blood cell population expressing high levels of Fc-epsilon receptors that is increased in patients undergoing rush immunotherapy. Such data-driven analysis using the ImmPort resource can generate hypotheses for further experimental design and verification.