Gene Expression Analysis

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Gene expression profiling analysis is an important part of the drug development process. It is a powerful tool that can be used to uncover the complex molecular “signature” of a disease and provide information that can determine efficacy of new therapeutic agents.

Harnessing the power of NanoString and other PCR-based technologies, Labcorp can provide a variety of gene expression analysis services (DNA and RNA) to allow researchers to gain a molecular snapshot of the tumor microenvironment and to provide answers that can assist researchers with decisions during early-stage drug discovery by confirming the expected mechanism of action and target engagement of a therapeutic. These services may also be applied to cell culture studies for proof-of-concept research prior to advancing to in vivo models.

  • NanoString

    A recent addition to Labcorp’s service portfolio, NanoString’s nCounter® Analysis System and the GeoMx® Digital Spatial Profiler (DSP) can be used to inform how a drug modulates gene expression and the signaling pathways that regulate tumor growth.

    The NanoString nCounter® allows for analysis of up to 800 RNA, DNA or protein targets simultaneously with high sensitivity and precision. The system utilizes molecular “barcodes” and single molecule imaging to quantitate hundreds of unique transcripts in a single sample.

    Other key advantages of using the NanoString nCounter® include:

    • A number of “off-the-shelf panels” for oncology (human and mouse) available, customizable to include up to 55 additional unique targets
    • Optimized for challenging sample types (FFPE, tissue, lysates and biofluids)
    • Only low amounts of precious sample material required
    • Accurate and faster than qPCR (no amplification requirements) and simpler than next generation sequencing

    While NanoString nCounter® provides great quantitative data on gene or protein expression levels from tumor samples, spatial context is key to gaining further insights into tissue biology. NanoString GeoMx® DSP is the spatial biology solution and it can be used to gain a deeper understanding of the tumor and the complex interactions within the tumor microenvironment.

    The NanoString GeoMx® DSP technology builds upon the highly robust NanoString nCounter® digital barcode technology, providing morphological context and high-plex protein or gene expression profiling from just one prepared slide sample. The technology uses software that offers tremendous flexibility when selecting a region-of-interest strategy (geometric, segmentation, cell-type specific, contour, gridded) to visualize spatial architecture and analyze multiple biomarkers of a tissue sample. The data analysis software in GeoMx® DSP supports easy visualization and interpretation of data. High-resolution images can be displayed alongside quantitative profiling data, allowing interaction with either dataset in real time.

    Labcorp is the only preclinical CRO, globally, to offer NanoString’s GeoMx® DSP technology.

    In addition to being utilized as a standalone in vitro service for genetic expression screening using cell-based models, NanoString may also be used in an ex vivo setting to analyze the drug mechanism of action in in vivo animal models, thereby offering the ability to screen multiple therapeutics to identify promising lead compounds.

  • Real-time PCR

    We use a StepOnePlus™ Real-Time PCR System that can read four different colors in a 96-well plate and supports assays such as SNP genotyping, gene expression analysis, microRNA expression, translocation analysis, and gene detection. Our PCR specialists can help you to determine the expression of specific genes in cultured cells, fresh tissues, or frozen tissues. Whether you need to measure the expression of genes in different cell lines, strains of mice, tissues, or tumors, or monitor the expression of different genes with different treatments, our PCR specialists can help you design a study that’s right for you.

  • Cell line and tumor gene expression profiling

    Gene expression profiling is the measurement of the activity (the expression) of thousands of genes at once to create a global picture of cellular function. The RNA is sequenced using next-generation sequencing, quantified, and aligned to thousands of known RNA sequences from specific genes. These profiles can, for example, distinguish between cells that are actively dividing, show how the cells react to a particular treatment, or determine which genes are differentially expressed in different cell lines, strains of mice, tissues, or tumors. Labcorp collaborates with a partner laboratory that specializes in sequencing the RNA. Once we obtain the sequencing information, we have the software to quantify, align, and analyze the data. We can compare the expression of single genes, sets of related genes, groups of pathway-specific or process-specific genes, and entire genomes between samples and display the comparative results in straightforward graphs and figures.

Access a customized offering to meet your gene expression requirements

At Labcorp, we combine state-of-the-art technologies with a customized service offering to meet your gene expression requirements. Our highly specialized team has a wealth of knowledge and experience in developing, optimizing, and validating gene expression readouts throughout the entire drug discovery process. We work closely with you to design a tailored workflow to generate a wealth of data to help you uncover the mechanism of action of your compound(s) and what signaling pathways and/or downstream genes are regulated in the context of tumor growth. We pride ourselves in having an extensive portfolio of animal/tumor models to ensure we can provide our clients with the “best fit” model for their project. Contact us today to discuss your study requirements and how our gene expression analysis services can add new insights into your research projects. 

Spotlight

The nCounter® IO 360™ panel and flow cytometry combine transcriptome and immune subset immunophenotypic profiles to offer comprehensive analysis of tumor immunotherapy

Transcriptomic profiling can be used to examine the interaction between the tumor microenvironment (TME) and the immune system and is a powerful tool to investigate the mechanistic action of immunotherapies. In this Tech Spotlight, we demonstrate how gene expression measured in solid tumors using the nCounter® PanCancer IO 360™ panel (NanoString Technologies) can be combined with flow cytometry to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the effects that immunotherapy has on the anti-tumor immune response.

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