NanoString, CITN launch biomarker collaboration

NanoString's nCounter Analysis System and PanCancer Immune Profiling technology will be applied to several prospective CITN trials

Kelsey Kaustinen
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SEATTLE—A multi-year translational research collaboration was announced today between NanoString Technologies Inc. and the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN) for the discovery of biomarkers that can predict clinical outcomes for cancer immunotherapies, both used singly and in combination. The partners will leverage NanoString's nCounter Analysis System and PanCancer Immune Profiling technology in several prospective CITN clinical trials.
The CITN's mission is to select, design and conduct early-phase trials of agents with known and proven biologic function and to provide high-quality immunogenicity and biomarker data essential to inform subsequent development pathways leading to the broad availability of these agents for treating patients with cancer. The group hopes to head the design and conduct of trials that lead to regulatory approval of promising candidates and advance the knowledge of antitumor immunity and its applications in immunotherapy.
"Our collaboration with NanoString focuses on a critical challenge in fully realizing the promise of cancer immunotherapy—finding biomarkers that will identify the patients most likely to benefit from treatment," Dr. Martin "Mac" Cheever, director of the CITN and researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, said in a press release. "We expect this to become an even greater challenge as we explore potential combinations of these agents. Powerful tools for genomic and proteomic analysis are expected to play an important role in solving these puzzles."
Per the terms of the collaboration, the partners will use NanoString's immuno-oncology panels to analyze blood and tissue biopsies at multiple time-points during immunotherapy clinical trials. The collaboration will cover translational research initially, using the PanCancer Immune Profiling Panel, which probes the expression of 770 genes, including genes for the identification of different immune cell types, cancer antigens, checkpoint blockades and both innate adaptive and humoral immune responses. NanoString and CITN may expand the deal in the future to include NanoString's RNA:Protein technology, which makes it possible to simultaneously profile both gene and protein expression, including 30 proteins of import in immuno-oncology research, such as PD-1, PD-L1 and CTLA4.
CITN and NanoString will initially focus on malignant melanoma and epithelial ovarian, Fallopian tube and primary peritoneal carcinomas treated with novel cancer immunotherapies, though additional trials and indications may be added as the collaboration progresses. The agreement grants NanoString rights to research and diagnostic content developed under the collaboration.
"NanoString's nCounter technology is ideally suited to answering complex biological questions like those facing researchers in the field of immuno-oncology," Dr. Joseph Beechem, senior vice president of Research and Development at NanoString Technologies, noted in a statement about the deal. "Our ability to simultaneously measure the expression of up to 800 genes and proteins associated with the immune system's response to cancer provides a wealth of information, while preserving precious tumor samples to facilitate many additional experiments."
In other recent news for NanoString, the company began April by announcing a multi-year collaboration with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to accelerate the development and adoption of a new type of assay based on NanoString's nCounter Analysis System. The organizations will collaborate to develop “multi-omic” assays that simultaneously profile gene and protein expression, with a focus on identifying biomarkers for immuno-oncology and extending programs for targeting therapeutics.
SOURCE: NanoString press release

Kelsey Kaustinen

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