Quantifying T-cell receptor diversity via expression analysis


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T cell receptor (TCR) gene segments are comprised of numerous discontinuous coding segments that somatically rearrange to form the TCR gene during the development of a T cell. The TCR repertoire is highly diverse and estimated to exceed 106 sequences in humans.  Clonal expansion of T cell populations can be observed in physiological T cell responses and in pathology, e.g., T-cell lymphomas, and are characterized by a loss of TCR polyclonality and emergence of dominant TCR clonotypes. Assessment of T cell clonality as a biomarker of T cell malignancy or an inflammatory response with TCR sequencing can be challenging. The nCounter® TCR Diversity Panel enables the direct quantification of TCR gene loci expression with minimal sample handling, an overnight incubation, and simplified data analysis and as such can provide insight in TCR diversity without information on clonotype sequence.

In this re-airing of our workshop from the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer 2021 meeting, Erin Piazza, PhD, Senior Bioinformatics Scientist from NanoString will introduce the concept of the TCR Diversity Panel and the corresponding TCR score calculated in the accompanying TCR Diversity Data Analysis Report and L.C.L.T. (Léon) van Kempen, PhD, Clinical Scientist in Molecular Pathology, Groningen University will discuss his experiences using the TCR Diversity Panel to study T cell lymphoma samples.


Erin Piazza, PhD

Senior Bioinformatics Scientist, NanoString

Erin Piazza is the lead scientist for gene expression panel development at NanoString. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in Cancer Biology, where she studied the final member of the tubulin superfamily in Xenopus and investigated genes differentially expressed during ciliogenesis in mouse. Erin joined NanoString in the Fall of 2015 and enjoys mixing her deep background in oncology with her love of solving problems computationally.

Léon van Kempen, PhD

Clinical Scientist in Molecular Pathology, Groningen University

Dr. LŽon van Kempen is a Clinical Scientist in Molecular Pathology at the University Medical Center Groningen Department of Pathology.  He has introduced NanoString nCounter expression profiling in a clinical setting for the detection of fusion transcripts in non-small cell lung cancer and sarcoma. In the research setting, Dr. van Kempen has been using nCounter analysis for gene expression profiling in clinical samples for over 10 years and has published numerous papers demonstrating the robustness and reproducibility of the technology. He was among the first to test the new TCR Diversity Panel.