NanoString introduces new assay for leukemia fusion gene analysis

NanoString Technologies, Inc., a privately held provider of life science tools for translational research and developer of molecular diagnostics, today announced the availability of a comprehensive multiplexed assay for the simple and cost-effective analysis of fusion genes linked to leukemia. The new tool is expected to greatly aid the ability of cancer researchers to characterize these genetic abnormalities.

The nCounter® Leukemia Fusion Gene Panel covers 25 specific isoforms from seven fusion gene families associated with three types of leukemia: acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and acute lymphocytic (lymphoblastic) leukemia (ALL). The multiplexed assay can be performed at a fraction of the cost associated with traditional analysis methods such as fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), karyotyping, or polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Since the assay is compatible with a variety of specimens, including archived formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples, it requires less hands-on time and technical expertise than other available analysis methods.

Mohamed E. Salama, M.D., Assistant Medical Director, Hematopathology Laboratory at ARUP Laboratories and an Associate Professor of Pathology at the University of Utah School of Medicine, was an early access customer for the new panel. "We are very impressed with the performance of the nCounter Leukemia Fusion Gene Panel, particularly its linearity and reproducibility," commented Dr. Salama. "The ability to analyze paraffin embedded samples is a huge advantage for translational cancer research, as is the fact that no enzymatic steps or amplification are required. There is really nothing else like this available."

FFPE samples are the most common form of archived tumor specimens, and it is estimated that 400 million samples are stored in tissue banks worldwide. The nCounter Leukemia Fusion Gene Panel enables researchers to study these high-value archived samples in great detail, using a simple and robust platform.

"The Leukemia Fusion Gene Panel is the latest example of how the nCounter platform is aiding researchers in the investigation of genes linked to cancer," said Barney Saunders, Ph.D., Chief Commercial Officer of NanoString Technologies. "The assay measures 25 fusion gene transcripts and the expression levels of 23 leukemia-associated mRNAs to provide an extensive molecular profile of each sample."

The nCounter Analysis System is a fully automated digital detection and counting system with a very simple workflow. The assay kits contain all of the reagents and consumables required to conduct an experiment. Minimal sample input requirements and compatibility with a variety of sample types, extends the utility of the platform. In addition to gene expression assays, NanoString provides assays for copy number variation and miRNA analysis. The nCounter Analysis System and Leukemia Fusion Gene Panel are currently available for Research Use Only.

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