Detecting a small number of diseased cells in a large population of healthy cells is one of the main challenges in research of cancer and other diseases. Moreover, assessment of the amount of genetic material or proteins is often impossible inside living cells. AuraSense has developed a new technology for intracellular assays termed "Nano-Flares." These non-toxic nanoparticle-based gene probes are designed to enter living cells and are equipped with fluorescent molecules termed "flares" to provide a robust and discernable signal when they encounter specific molecular targets (e.g., mRNA). Nano-Flares provide exceptional benefits and opportunities for studying and detecting disease in living systems, including:
Stability. Nano-Flares are stable inside cells, only giving off a bright signal when they encounter their gene target. These probes remain stable for long periods of time and have a low background or "false positive" signal
Cellular Entry. Nano-Flares enter cells easily and without toxicity, and thus are the ultimate way to find the genetic "needle in the haystack"
Tailorabilty. Nano-Flares can be encoded to detect any nucleic acid sequence of interest
Real-time Monitoring. Nano-Flares function in living cells, and can thus detect gene level changes in real-time, allowing a quantitative look at changes occurring in live cells
Nano-Flares are the only technology able to enter live cells, remain stable in the cellular environment, and quantitatively identify and measure the concentration of a specific gene target in real time. As such, the technology has significant implications for the development of tools for studying many life-threatening diseases, including breast and prostate cancer.