Development and Clinical Translation of Melaseq™

Life Sciences, Biomarkers, Laboratory Technology,
  • Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Development and Clinical Translation of Melaseq™, a Multi-tissue MicroRNA Profile of Malignant Melanoma, “Australia’s National Cancer”

Australians have the highest incidence of melanoma in the world. Despite extensive public health efforts, new survival-prolonging therapies and record government spending, the mortality rate of this cancer has steadily increased over the past 50 years. Diagnostic imprecision of up to 48 percent and a lack of standardised molecular biomarkers are two factors that are thought to be contributing to Australia’s ongoing melanoma epidemic. As such, there is an urgent need for new, accurate and non-invasive methods to detect, diagnose and monitor this disease.

To identify a signature of cutaneous melanoma that can be detected in both solid tissue and blood, NanoString® miRNA expression profiling was chosen because the NanoString nCounter platform works with small amounts of starting material, is cost-effective & scalable, and has built-in QC and normalization features. Steps in the signature design process, including comparison of microRNA analysis platforms, evaluation of normalization and classification algorithms, and molecular function/pathway analyses, will be discussed. Finally, an overview of Geneseq Biosciences’ ongoing technical and clinical validation work, in partnership with one of Australian’s largest private pathology companies, will be presented.



Ryan Van Laar , Geneseq Biosciences

Ryan Van Laar, Ph.D., Founder & CEO, Geneseq Biosciences

Dr Ryan Van Laar received his Ph.D. in cancer genomics from the University of Melbourne (Australia). He then worked at Agendia (Amsterdam), Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (New York) and Signal Genetics (Little Rock), before returning to Melbourne in 2016 where he co-founded Geneseq Biosciences. Dr. Van Laar has a strong background translating genomic research into robust and clinically-actionable tests. He has achieved Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA), CAP and FDA clearances for assays that have provided personalized genomic information to thousands of cancer patients worldwide. Dr. Van Laar was certified as a Laboratory Director by the New York State Department of Health in 2014, has multiple issued patents and over 20 publications in the field of cancer genomics.

Message Presenter

Who Should Attend?

This webinar will appeal to individuals with the following or related job titles:

  • Research Scientists
  • Clinical Researchers
  • Medical Researchers
  • Lab Directors/PI
  • Post Doc Students
  • Grad Students
  • Oncologists

Working in the following research areas:

  • Biomarker discovery
  • Biomarker validation
  • Pathology
  • Oncology
  • Translational Medicine

What You Will Learn

In this webinar, attendees will learn about: 

  • Detection of malignant melanoma using NanoString miRNA expression profiling system
  • Comparison of different microRNA analysis platforms
  • Evaluation of normalization and classification algorithms 
  • Geneseq Biosciences’ ongoing technical and clinical validation work

Xtalks Partner


NanoString Technologies (NASDAQ: NSTG) is a publicly held provider of life science tools for translational research and molecular diagnostics. The company’s technology enables a wide variety of basic research, translational medicine and in vitro diagnostics applications.

NanoString’s products are based on a novel digital molecular barcoding technology invented at the Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) in Seattle under direction of Dr. Leroy Hood. The company was founded in 2003 with an exclusive license to develop and market the technology. In 2008, NanoString launched its first commercial instrument system and began international sales operations with its first multiplexed assays for gene expression analysis. In 2010, the company launched new applications for the system to support microRNA analysis and copy number variation detection, and in 2013 launched Prosigna®, its first in vitro diagnostic product for prognosis of early stage breast cancer.

Organizations performing cancer research, biomarker validation and screening, and next-generation sequencing validation are rapidly adopting the nCounter® Analysis System. By providing simple, multiplexed digital profiling of single molecules, the NanoString platform represents a natural, digital downstream companion to next-generation sequencing and enables researchers to embark on studies that were previously inconceivable.

Leading researchers and institutions are finding that NanoString’s nCounter system provides the ideal platform on which to validate their discoveries and translate them into clinically useful diagnostic assays. The nCounter system is uniquely positioned to support translational research because it provides more reproducible results than methods requiring amplification, and generates high-quality data from the difficult sample types common in clinical research, including Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded (FFPE) tissues.

In addition to continuing to extend the applications for the nCounter system in the discovery, target validation and routine testing segments of the genomics research market, the company’s goal is to become the platform of choice for diagnostic testing based on multiplexed gene signatures that can be offered in hospitals and pathology laboratories worldwide, following appropriate regulatory approvals. These two synergistic areas of business focus provide researchers with a seamless transition from discovery to diagnostics.

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