What is your immune age?

What is your immune age?

New data, published in Nature Medicine describes for the first time ever a way to reliably quantify a person's "immune age". This game changing capability provides a much more reliable predictor for the status of your immune system than any other method and could lead to fundamental changes in drug & vaccine development and medical practice.

The immune system is the critical function in the body for managing health. It is a complex system with hundreds of different cell-types. Until now, no metric had existed to quantify an individual's immune status. This ground-breaking new data, while requiring further development, describes a metric (called IMM-AGE) by which we can accurately understand a person's immune status, providing increased information for accurate prediction and management of risks for disease and death.

This new capability will have major drug development implications: Given the importance of immune status in vaccine response, this new data could play a significant role in both the design of future vaccine trials and in re-evaluating past vaccine trials. Moreover, this new metric for immune aging could see chronological age augmented by "immune age" as a way of improving drug development programs - providing for enhanced clinical trial entry/exclusion criteria that can elicit a more homogenous response and greater likelihood of success.

The researchers developed their unique data by following a group of healthy volunteers (135) for nine years, taking annual blood samples which were profiled against a range of 'omics' technologies (cell subset phenotyping, functional responses of cells to cytokine stimulations and whole blood gene expression). This captured population- and individual-level changes to the immune system over time, which when analyzed using a range of novel, immune aligned, machine learning analytical technologies, enabled identification of patterns of cell-subset changes, common to those in the study, despite the large amount of variation in their immune system states. The data and metrics generated was then validated against a cohort of more than 2,000 patients.

The immune age is a biological clock that will help to identify in individuals, the decline and progress in immunity that occurs in old age - with the aim of determining preventive measures and developing new treatment modalities to minimize chronic disease and death.