NanoString Technologies, Inc., a privately held life sciences company marketing a molecular barcoding detection system, today announced that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is employing its nCounter™ Analysis System at two of its core labs. One system was purchased by the NCI Center for Cancer Research (CCR) through the Institute's Office of Science and Technology Partnerships, and a second was purchased by SAIC-Frederick, operations and technical support contractor to NCI-Frederick.
The nCounter Analysis System provides highly multiplexed, direct digital detection and counting of individual biological molecules in a single reaction without the need for amplification. The system is now available to all NCI researchers through the CCR DNA Sequencing Minicore laboratory at the Bethesda facility and through the Laboratory of Molecular Technology, Advanced Technology Program of SAIC-Frederick at NCI-Frederick.
The role of the Office of Science and Technology Partnerships is to evaluate the latest technologic advancements and then make these advances available to all CCR investigators. The Advanced Technology Program offers the latest in genetics and genomics technologies to the NCI through the Laboratory of Molecular Technology. The nCounter Analysis System was selected based on the level of multiplexed gene expression analysis it offers with high sensitivity and without the need for enzymes, as well as its very simple workflow.
“We are excited to bring this state-of-the-art gene expression analysis technology to our cancer researchers,” said Michael Smith, Director of Genetics and Genomics and Vice-President at SAIC-Frederick. “The nCounter Analysis System offers a cost-effective way to validate the results from our large-scale microarray work for NCI investigators, producing a large amount of quantitative data in a short amount of time with an easy to perform protocol.”
CCR investigators have already begun using the nCounter Analysis System in various studies related to the mechanisms involved in cancer development. These include investigations into the role of inflammation in cancer and RNA-interference or “gene-knockdown” experiments, and studies measuring changes in gene expression in response to drug treatment. These studies are expected to lead to a better understanding of the disease and ultimately to more targeted treatment options.
“The nCounter Analysis System is well suited to cancer research because it is highly sensitive, has a very small sample requirement, and can handle multiple sample types including whole blood and degraded samples,” said Wayne Burns, Acting Chief Executive Officer of NanoString Technologies. “We are proud to be part of the portfolio of technologies offered to scientists at this prestigious institute and look forward to supporting NCI researchers in their mission to discover new insights about this complex disease.”
The nCounter Analysis System is comprised of a fully automated sample prep station, a digital analyzer, the CodeSet (molecular barcodes) and all other reagents needed to perform the analysis. Custom and off-the-shelf assay panels are available for gene expression analysis, with additional applications such as miRNA profiling and copy number variation detection currently in development.