Immuno-oncology research making new breakthroughs in cancer

Explore the complex relationship between the immune system and tumor biology to identify new therapeutic targets

Recent advances in immuno-oncology have dramatically changed cancer research and treatment paradigms. By studying the immune response to cancer, researchers are discovering promising new therapeutic targets with the potential to harness the body’s powerful immune system to specifically target and kill tumor cells.

Most notably, immune checkpoint inhibitors targeting PD-L1 and CTLA-4 have demonstrated rapid and prolonged response in a subset of patients.

Despite the enormous advances, immuno-oncology research comes with its own challenges. Due to the complex relationship between the immune system and a tumor’s biology, the traditional biomarker approach, which is based on a single analyte measurement, is unlikely to yield informative and actionable data. Furthermore, due to the dynamic nature of the immune system, it is important to look beyond genetic variation to assess the phenotypic changes in protein and gene expression levels in order to fully characterize the immune response to disease.

A growing body of evidence supports the use of multi-gene expression signatures as better predictors of immune activity and therapeutic outcomes. Multiplex gene expression tests, such as the Tumor Inflammation Signature (TIS), are currently part of several large clinical trials with the hope that they will result in more predictive outcomes for patients.

The next generation of highly predictive biomarkers in immuno-oncology will need to measure and integrate the complexity of host, tumor, and environment interaction. The measurement of DNA, RNA, and proteins simultaneously with the same sample will enable researchers to obtain a more complete understanding of the immune system response to disease and support the development of new, highly effective therapies.

Perspectives on immuno-oncology

Join our chief medical officer, Alessandra Cesano, MD, PhD, as she discusses the latest developments in immuno-oncology research and the impact on precision medicine in 4-part blog series: "Perspectives on Immuno-Oncology"

nForm Blog IO Part 1 Thumbnail

Profiling in immuno-oncology

In this white paper, “NanoString Profiling in Immuno-Oncology,” learn how to address key challenges in immuno-oncology research with NanoString Technologies® 3D Biology™––which can measure biological activity simultaneously in both the tumor and the immune system.

USSC PM0057-02 IO Leadership Thumbnail

Single Cell Gene Expression Analysis with the nCounter® System


For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.