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MD Anderson and NanoString Technologies announce multiyear collaboration

The University of Texas MD AndersonCancer Center and NanoString Technologies, Inc., a provider of life science tools for translational research and molecular diagnostic products, recently announced a multi-year collaboration to accelerate the development and adoption of a new type of assay based on NanoString’s n Counter® Analysis System.

The collaboration will involve the development of “multi-omic” assays, which simultaneously profile both gene and protein expression, with a primary focus on identifying important biomarkers in the burgeoning field of immuno-oncology as well as extending programs for targeting therapeutics.

Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D.

“These types of assays are designed to provide a powerful tool for comprehensively probing tumor biology, and have the potential to capture the biology needed to optimize the use of new cancer therapeutics, especially in the dynamic field of immuno-oncology, where matching patients with the right combination of therapies is critical, initially in clinical trials and then in patient treatment,” said Gordon Mills, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Systems Biology at MD Anderson.

Mills is co-director of the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy and will lead the joint collaboration effort.

NanoString intends to introduce new research panels for the simultaneous measurement of gene and protein expression with the beta launch of the first panel planned for the upcoming American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting. With the addition of this proteomic capability, the nCounter Analysis System will have capabilities for concurrent genomic and proteomic analysis. NanoString’s nCounter Analysis System is an automated platform that uses a novel digital barcoding chemistry to deliver high-precision multiplexed assays across a number of important research applications. NanoString’s nCounter technology uses color-coded molecular barcodes that can hybridize directly to many different types of target molecules. nCounter assays are enzyme-free and capable of generating highquality results from challenging sample types, including FFPE tissue.

“Our current PanCancer Pathway and Immune Profiling gene expression panels offer researchers powerful assays for understanding the tug-of-war between the drivers of tumor growth and the immune system’s response,” said Brad Gray, president and chief executive officer of NanoString Technologies. “In collaboration with experts at MD Anderson, we will be adding a new proteomic dimension to these assays, and aiming to demonstrate their potential to inform drug development and selection.”

Key objectives of the collaboration include:
• Development of new multi-omic assays and signatures that profile key oncology disease pathways and immune response from tumor tissue
• Incorporation of these multi-omic assays into select clinical studies being run at MD Anderson to predict response and monitor response to cancer immuno-therapies, and targeted therapies, both as single agents and combinations; and
• Identification of clinically actionable proteomic markers across multiple tumor types.