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NCI scientists identify targets for melanoma immunotherapy
Date:9/10/2013

PHILADELPHIA Using a highly sensitive technology called NanoString, researchers have identified seven targets that could potentially be used to develop new immunotherapies for patients with metastatic melanoma, according to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"We identified seven potential candidate genes that deserve further consideration as targets for melanoma immunotherapy," said Richard Morgan, Ph.D., staff scientist at the Tumor Immunology Section of the Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute (NCI), in Bethesda, Md. "We used NanoString technology because it is very robust, yielding quantitative and extremely reproducible results and, in addition, an antigen expression profile can be constructed for a patient from a very small amount of tumor sample, which makes NanoString a better clinical tool."

NanoString technology allows for the simultaneous measurement of multiple genes that are expressed in higher amounts in tumor cells than in normal cells. Researchers isolate genetic material called RNA from tumor samples, use this technology to measure the amount of RNAs present in tumors, and compare them with those present in normal tissues. Unlike many other technologies that can be used for this purpose, NanoString can detect and measure the expression levels of the genes in a single step, avoiding errors.

"Our laboratory has developed a battery of different antigen receptors to target a wide range of antigens, and we can engineer human immune cells to recognize the targets in patients' tumors and kill those cells," said Morgan. "The NCI surgery branch is conducting several clinical trials using this technology to treat a variety of cancers."

In these clinical trials, the NCI researchers are treating patients with adoptive immunotherapy, a type of cancer treatment that involves "teaching" the immune cells of a patient to locate spec
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Contact: Jeremy Moore
jeremy.moore@aacr.org
215-446-7109
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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