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.


The 2018 Journal of Immunotherapy of Cancer (JITC) “Best Basic Science Paper” awarded to NanoString Scientists

Pan-cancer adaptive immune resistance as defined by the Tumor Inflammation Signature (TIS): results from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA)

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.

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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"

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Recent NanoString customer publications in the field of Immuno-Oncology 

Development of Gene Expression Signatures Characterizing the Tumor-Immune Interaction

Alessandra Cesano and Sarah Warren. "Bringing the next Generation of Immuno-Oncology Biomarkers to the Clinic." Biomedicines (2018).

Keane C. et al., "The T-cell receptor repertoire influences the tumor microenvironment and is associated with survival in aggressive B-cell lymphoma." Clin. Can. Res. [Epub ahead of print]. September 20, 2016

Kebriaei P. et al., "Phase I trials using Sleeping Beauty to generate CD19-specific CAR T cells" JCI [Epub ahead of print]. September 01, 2016

Gray M.J. et al., "Phosphatidylserine-targeting antibodies augment the anti-tumorigenic activity of anti-PD-1 therapy by enhancing immune activation and downregulating pro-oncogenic factors induced by T-cell checkpoint inhibition in murine triple-negative breast cancers." Breast Can Res. [Epub ahead of print]. May 11, 2016

Liu L. et al., "The BRAF and MEK Inhibitors Dabrafenib and Trametinib: Effects on Immune Function and in Combination with Immunomodulatory Antibodies Targeting PD1, PD-L1 and CTLA-4." Clin. Cancer Res. [Epub ahead of print]. January 14, 2015

Tumeh P. C. et al., "PD-1 blockade induces responses by inhibiting adaptive immune resistance." Nature [Epub ahead of print]. November 26, 2014

Morgan R.A. et al., "Cancer Regression and Neurological Toxicity Following Anti-MAGE-A3 TCR Gene Therapy." J of Immunother 36(2):133-51 February 14, 2013

Click here to view all nCounter publications on Immuno-Oncology.

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