NanoString Technologies, Inc., a privately held life sciences company marketing a molecular barcoding detection system, today announced that it is collaborating with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to investigate molecular networks involved in immune response and other important biological processes. The three-year collaboration is also designed to explore ways to expand how NanoString’s next-generation digital gene expression technology can be applied to improve basic and clinical research.
As part of the collaboration, the Broad Institute will use NanoString’s nCounterTM Analysis System to decipher entire networks of genes to identify how these genes work together to carry out biological functions. To support this effort, NanoString will design custom CodeSets (molecular barcodes associated with the genes of interest) based on gene signatures identified by Broad investigators. These gene sets may eventually be developed into commercially available assay panels for the nCounter system.
“NanoString offers the ability to look at hundreds of genetic markers across many samples at relatively low cost and with high sensitivity. They have developed exciting technology with potential applications to a wide range of scientific problems,” said Eric Lander, D. Phil., Director of the Broad Institute. “We look forward to working together to explore new ways of using of this technology.”
Last month, scientists at the Broad Institute, NanoString, and Massachusetts General Hospital published a first-of-its-kind study in Science Express that demonstrated the nCounter’s ability to elucidate complex circuitry involved in pathogen recognition in mammalian cells. The study also offered a practical approach for unraveling the gene networks that underpin other important biological systems.
The current collaboration will expand upon this published work, and explore additional gene networks involved in innate and adaptive immunity, stem cell differentiation and non-coding RNA function, including the regulatory roles of the recently discovered long intervening non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs).
“This wide-reaching collaboration with the Broad Institute provides further validation for the strength of the NanoString technology platform and its promise for enabling research studies that would otherwise be difficult or cost-prohibitive,” said Wayne Burns, Acting Chief Executive Officer for NanoString Technologies. “One of the expected outcomes of this collaboration is to develop ways to make these types of molecular network analyses routine in studies of human disease.”