Biomarker Discovery with Morphological Context

Digital Spatial Profiling (DSP) Technology

Digital Spatial Profiling Technology
What’s been the biggest breakthrough during development of the Digital Spatial Profiling technology?
The fusion of molecular biology & pathology with Digital Spatial Profiling technology
What new questions can be answered with Digital Spatial Profiling technology?
How can Digital Spatial Profiling address key challenges in the immuno-oncology field?

Morphology driven high plex profiling on a single tissue section

  • Highly multiplexed RNA or protein detection: up to 800 targets in a single run
  • Minimum sample: RNA or protein analysis from a single FFPE section
  • Morphological context: whole slide 4 color imaging to guide profiling
  • Maintains sample integrity: samples can be reused
  • Digital quantitation: up to 6 logs (base 10) dynamic range
  • Tunable resolution: select from 600 micron regions of interest down to single-cell
  • High throughput: up to 20 sections per day


Available through our Technology Access Program


Changing How Tissue Specimens are Analyzed

Historically, immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence have been used to assess spatial heterogeneity of proteins and nucleic acids in tissue slices. However, these techniques are of limited utility due to restricted dynamic range, difficult quantitation, and limited multiplexing capability.

Nanostring’s DSP technology combines standard immunofluorescence techniques with digital optical barcoding technology to perform highly multiplexed, spatially resolved profiling experiments. In a single reaction, the DSP technology performs whole slide imaging with up to four fluorescent stains to capture tissue morphology and select regions of interest for high plex profiling with up to 800 barcoded reagents. The ability to perform tissue morphology guided profiling experiments increases the likelihood of capturing rare events often missed by typical grind and bind assays. The DSP chemistry enables spatially resolved high plex profiling of RNA and protein targets on just two serial sample sections. The ability to perform multianalyte analysis enables deep characterization of the sample.

What is digital spatial profiling (DSP)?

Digital Spatial Profiling (DSP) is a novel platform developed by Nanostring. DSP is based on the nCounter® barcoding technology that enables spatially resolved, digital characterization of proteins or mRNA in a highly multiplexed (up to 800-plex) assay. The assay relies upon antibody or RNA probes coupled to photocleavable oligonucleotide tags. After hybridization of probes to slide-mounted formalin fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue sections, the oligonucleotide tags are released from discrete regions of the tissue via UV exposure. Released tags are quantitated in a standard nCounter assay, and counts are mapped back to tissue location, yielding a spatially-resolved digital profile of analyte abundance.

The DSP Workflow

  1. Process: Apply high-plex oligo-labeled antibody cocktail + morphology markers
  2. View: Use visible wavelength low-plex imaging to establish tumor "geography." Select regions-of-interest (ROIs) for high-plex profiling
  3. Profile: UV-release oligo tags at selected ROIs
  4. Plate: Store released tags in microtiter plate, index, and hybridize to barcodes
  5. Digitally count up to 1 million data points per ROI
  6. Analyze the data with nSolver™Advanced Analysis Software


Many different applications can be supported by DSP. The content menu is continuously expanding. Two key applications explored during Technology Access include:


1. Tumor and tumor microenvironment profiling 


2. Profiling of microglial populations surrounding plaque formation- coming soon

For all available content, please contact us through our Technology Access Program.


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