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NanoString, Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network Collaborate on Therapy Response Biomarkers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – NanoString Technologies and the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network said after the close of the market on Tuesday they are collaborating on a multiyear research project to discover biomarkers that may be predictive of clinical outcomes for cancer immunotherapies as single agents as well as in combination. 

The collaboration will leverage NanoString's nCounter Analysis System and PanCancer Immune Profiling technology in multiple prospective CITN clinical trials. The partners will use NanoString's immuno-oncology targeted panels to analyze blood and tissue biopsies at multiple time points during the trials. 

The PanCancer Immune Profiling Panel probes the expression of 770 genes, including genes for identifying different immune cell types, cancer antigens, checkpoint blockages, and innate adaptive and humoral immune responses. The partners said the collaboration may eventually be expanded to include NanoString's RNA:Protein technology, which can be used to profile gene and protein expression simultaneously. 

The initial focus will be malignant melanoma and epithelial ovarian, Fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal carcinomas treated with novel cancer immunotherapies. Additional clinical trials and indications may be included later. NanoString has the rights to research and diagnostic content developed from the collaboration. 

Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed. 

"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," Martin Cheever, director of the CITN and a researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, said in a statement. "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."