COSTA MESA, Calif., January 27, 2015/PRNewswire-iReach/—WCCT Global, a full service contract research organization (CRO) headquartered in Southern California, announced the establishment of a collaboration agreement with researchers in Dr. Garry P. Nolan’slaboratory from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University. Together with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), WCCT-Global is currently conducting influenza clinical research studies in healthy volunteers and is the first CRO to conduct such studies in North America. Dr. Garry P. Nolan is a world renowned immunologist, and is a pioneer in the field of mass cytometry (CyTOF), an advanced single-cell analysis technique which allows simultaneous detection of more than 40 different proteins per cell.

“CyTOF permits deep profiling of immune responses by providing unprecedented resolution of the identity and signaling states of a large number of cell types. Together with the important scientific resource of WCCT-Global’s human influenza challenge facility, this will allow us for the first time to understand what the earliest phases of human influenza infection look like at a  system-wide level. By examining individuals in a highly controlled environment, we hope that this collaboration will shed light on what distinguishes someone in the community who will easily recover from the infection from those individuals who have prolonged symptoms and require hospitalization. Ultimately this influenza clinical research may point toward novel opportunities for intervention in the course of influenza infection, a major burden to global health,” said Dr. David McIlwain, leader of this project in the Nolan lab, and Canadian Institutes of Health Research fellow at Stanford University.

WCCT-Global’s facility in Costa Mesa, California, is equipped to safely monitor healthy subjects in-house as they develop a mild-to-moderate course of influenza and then fully recover. They are equipped to collect a variety of high quality longitudinal samples providing data on the entire course of infection; before during and after onset of symptoms.

“It is our hope that through the collaboration with Stanford, in-depth cellular analysis of the H1N1 influenza clinical research studies ongoing at WCCT-Global will provide us with an opportunity to not only to better understand  the natural course of infection in healthy individuals, but also serve as a framework for future clinical trials where we would like to know at the cellular level, why an experimental therapeutic is effective, or why it might be failing,” said Dr. Mel Affrime , Sr. VP Translational Medicine from WCCT-Global.

More about the Nolan Lab:

The Nolan lab is part of the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford School of Medicine.  The Nolan lab studies hematopoiesis, cancer and leukemia, autoimmunity and inflammation, and computational approaches for network and systems immunology.

Our  most recent efforts are focused on a single cell analysis advance using a mass spectrometry-flow cytometry hybrid device, the so-called “CyTOF”. The approach uses an advanced ion plasma source to determine the levels of tagged reagents bound to cells—enabling a vast increase in the number of parameters that can be measured per cell. Our laboratory has already begun a large scale mapping of the hematopoietic hierarchy in healthy human bone marrow at an unprecedented level of detail.

We are working to enable a deeper understanding not only of normal immune function, but also detailed substructures of leukemias and solid cancers as well as autoimmunity and pathogen effects upon the immune system.