The Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN) and NanoString Technologies, Inc. have recently announced they will collaborate to find biomarkers that predict clinical outcomes for cancer immunotherapies. According to CITN’s mission – to select, design and conduct early phase trials with potential agents for future treatment of patients with cancer – the collaboration will apply the systematic use of NanoString’s nCounter Analysis System and PanCancer Immune Profiling technology.
The latter technological platform examines the expression of 770 genes related to immune responses and how they behave with cancer. The analysis includes genes involved in cancer antigens, checkpoint blockades, and the identification of different types of immune cells and associated innate adaptive and humoral immune responses. The new collaboration will first focus on malignant melanoma and epithelial ovarian, Fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal carcinomas, and will determine their immune gene expression when treated with novel cancer immunotherapies. In the future, the collaboration may evolve to include additional NanoString’s technology, such as the NanoString’s RNA:Protein technology – where the expression of both genes and proteins can be simultaneously performed, including the established immune mediators PD-1, PD-L1 and CTLA4. NanoString Technologies, Inc. has the right to pursue research and diagnostic tools that arise under the collaboration.
The new collaboration will foster the development and approval of promising agents for more efficient immunotherapies, and contribute to a deeper understanding of anti-tumor immune responses.
Martin “Mac” Cheever, M.D., Director of the CITN and researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center commented, “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,” said. “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.”
Joseph Beechem, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Research and Development at NanoString Technologies added, “NanoString’s nCounter technology is ideally suited to answering complex biological questions like those facing researchers in the field of immuno-oncology,” stated. “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.”