The International SEREX Program, organized and sponsored by LICR, aims to document the repertoire of antigens that elicit an antibody response in cancer patients.
The technique of SEREX (serological expression of cDNA expression libraries), which was developed by LICR Affiliate Michael Pfreundschuh, involves the screening of complementary DNA (cDNA) expression libraries with serum from cancer patients, which contains the antibody products of the immune system. The cDNA clones that are reactive to the antibodies are sequenced, and the specifically recognized proteins are thus identified.
The publicly-accessible ‘SEREX database’ was constructed in 1997, by the LICR Office of Information Technology, to provide a curated repository for the information derived from the SEREX Program. In 2002, the Academy of Cancer Immunology and LICR became the cosponsors of a new database, the Cancer Immunome Database (CID), which replaced the SEREX database. The project has also received support from the European Union, through the funding of the European Cancer Immunome Program (EUCIP). The CID aims to describe all of the gene products against which an immune response has been documented in cancer patients, irrespective of the technique used to obtain that information.
The current CID contains cDNA sequences obtained using the SEREX technique, along with information about the cDNA library from which they were derived, and some ancillary data collected by the contributing scientists. Additional annotation, using standard bioinformatics tools, has been performed on many entries by the staff of the LICR Office of Information Technology. Most of the sequences have been deposited in the public databases (GenBank/EMBL).
The CID web-pages offer an environment in which new sequences can be compared to existing entries in the SEREX database as well as selected portions of the public databases. The CID also contains several bioinformatics tools useful in the context of the identification of new human cDNA sequences. Registered and new users of the CID can go directly to the new Cancer Immunome Database. Registered SEREX users can still consult the SEREX database, which is now available in read-only mode, and use bioinformatic tools to analyze SEREX entries.