Clinical development and translation of genomics-driven paediatric cancer diagnostics using NanoString


Human Health


Over the past decade, there have been many high-impact, genomics-driven cancer discoveries. The overriding challenge, however, lies in making the transition from the laboratory to the clinic – literally, bench to bedside. Toronto’s SickKids is a leader in the discovery and implementation of clinical diagnostics for children’s health. NanoString Technologies is a leader in providing tools to individual labs to enable laboratory-developed tests. Now, their individual strengths are being brought together to develop additional tools for diagnosing cancer in children that will deliver key information in a targeted, cost-effective and timely way. Led at Sick Kids by Dr. Cynthia Hawkins and Mr. John Racher, in partnership with NanoString Technologies, their initial work will focus on low-grade glioma (brain tumours), leukemia and soft-tissue sarcoma, for which no comprehensive tests currently exist. Further along, the tests can be expanded to adult cancers as well. Within three-to-five years, their work will result in marketable diagnostic tests for pediatric cancer. This will improve survival times and quality of life for children with cancer, reduce healthcare costs and generate licensing revenue, which will be shared between the partners. This is a market with high demand and low competition, underscoring the importance of this product.