The industry is making great strides with gene-based therapies in several areas, including mRNA-based delivery and RNA interference.
These successes are driving “new” applications for an “old” in vivo imaging assay: bioluminescence imaging (BLI). BLI is based on detection of a reporter gene/protein (traditionally firefly luciferase, FFluc) and has been used most commonly to detect tumor cells engineered to express the reporter. It is a natural extension to use BLI for imaging gene delivery in vivo, utilizing reporters like FFluc as “tool genes” to assess the delivery platform.
Recent advances to commercialize luciferase reporters that generate light on distinguishable wavelengths have made the assay even more powerful (see figure Imaging Gene Delivery). These include renilla, gaussia, vargulin, and several other derivatives. With state-of-the-art imaging instrumentation, resolution of multiple genes and reporters can be achieved longitudinally in the same living subjects equaling increased information from each animal and each study.
At MI Bioresearch, we leverage our long history as the first CRO to be licensed to perform BLI (over a decade ago) and to offer multi-spectral in vivo imaging of gene delivery. See our highlights in the timeline below: