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NanoString to Collaborate With NSABP in Colorectal Cancer Immunophenotype Study

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – NanoString Technologies said today that it is collaborating with the NSABP Foundation in a study to characterize immunophenotypes in colorectal cancer.

The partners will use NanoString's PanCancer IO 360 gene expression panel to test samples from an NSABP biobank of more than 2,500 tumor tissue specimens, looking for targetable pathways such as the microsatellite instability (MSI) phenotype that confers resistance to anti-PD1/PD-L1 therapies.

Overall, NanoString said, the PanCancer IO 360 panel can assay more than 20 signatures associated with therapeutic response to specific agents. In the colorectal cancer collaboration with the NSABP, however, the company will be looking specifically at mismatch repair deficiency and high MSI, and will also be comparing the performance of the PanCancer IO 360 to standard immunohistochemistry testing.

In addition to testing the concordance of the panel with IHC, NanoString and NSABP are also planning to use the assay to investigate new mechanisms of immune evasion in colorectal tumors. For example, the study will focus on NanoString's Tumor Inflammation Signature (TIS), which researchers described in a paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation this June. Investigators will test the hypothesis that measuring patients' TIS could identify a larger population of tumors potentially responsive to PD-1 blockade than MSI/dMMR status alone.

"It is critical to find better ways of identifying colorectal cancer patients who will benefit from current immunotherapeutic approaches as well as improving our understanding of the mechanisms of resistance at the molecular level," Samuel Jacobs, director of medical affairs for the NSABP, said in a statement. "It is our hope that this collaboration with NanoString will deepen our understanding of the mechanisms of tumor immune evasion in order to guide the successful development of novel immunotherapeutic approaches and combinations."

In addition to the new effort with NSABP, NanoString is also advancing Pan Cancer IO 360 as part of an ongoing collaboration with Merck.