Big Data and Immune Diversity – transforming medicine


immunity spelled on scrabble tiles

What big data in medicine gave us is research that led to new drugs and treatments, more informed medical decisions, lower costs and in general, better outcomes for patients.  The newest area of medicine that’s about to be transformed by data is the immune system and is called the Human Immunome Project.  It wants to understand how differently each person’s immune system responds to disease and the drugs used to treat them.  

Think of it this way. At your yearly physical, you get bloodwork done to look at your cholesterol numbers. The doctor sees your risk for heart disease and develops a treatment course. This immune system project is similar. Once it assesses your immune system, it can predict which diseases you might get, which ones will be a challenge, which vaccines might be best, and which drugs would work best. It considers your age, sex, diet, living conditions and genetics.  

The project will start in 2027 by enrolling 10,000 people globally. The number and types of immune cells, DNA sequences, metabolite levels, and gene activity will all be collected.  The database will host about 2 trillion samples collected from 300 sites to be shared by governments, companies, and philanthropic organizations world-wide.  

This means the project will yield an unparalleled view and diversity of the human immune system and help us develop treatments for not just a few but a broad spectrum of human populations.  

 We are Drs. David Niesel and Norbert Herzog, at UTMB and Quinnipiac University, where biomedical discoveries shape the future of medicine.   For much more and our disclaimer go to or subscribe to our podcast. Sign up for expanded print episodes at or our podcasts at:  Medical Discovery News ( 

More Information

Giant project will chart human immune diversity to improve drugs and vaccines
Human Immunome Project aims to capture immune data from thousands of people globally

Human Immunome Project
A new model for global health