An ancient bacterial immune system that protects microbes from viral infections.
CRISPR systems capture genetic fragments of prior infections and use these memories to direct Cas proteins to fight against subsequent infections.
This system has revolutionized genome editing and is now doing the same for disease detection, biosensing, and diagnostics.
We Repurpose CRISPR for Detection
Our initial platform makes use of two unique CRISPR proteins.
The first, Cas12, binds and cuts DNA, the material that makes up the genomes of all living things on Earth.
The second, Cas13, recognizes and cuts a related molecule called RNA. Together, these two proteins enable us to sense virtually any type of nucleic acid.
CRISPR is Programmable
Both Cas12 and Cas13 are programmed by a molecule called a guide RNA. This RNA molecule matches up with the sequence we want to detect and the protein senses that a match has been found.
Reprogramming these complexes is as simple as changing the sequence of the guide RNA.
Reading the Result
In addition to the protein and guide RNA components, a reporter molecule is also required.
Once Cas12 or Cas13 finds its matching target, the protein breaks apart the reporter molecule, which produces a color change. This signal indicates the presence of a specific DNA or RNA sequence.
Rapid, affordable, easy to use detection of nucleic acids in the hospital, at point-of-care, and at-home are needed.
Traditional methods for detection can be time-consuming, expensive, and labor-intensive. Additionally, development is often limited to a specific set of applications.
The Mammoth Solution
The rapidly programmable nature of RNA-guided CRISPR proteins enables the system to be used in any application that contains a DNA or RNA component.
Because of its flexibility, CRISPR-based detection can be used across many industries, such as healthcare, agriculture, environmental monitoring and others. The technology itself is rapid, affordable, and simple.
Everything Works Together
The Cas12 and Cas13 proteins can also work together to simultaneously detect both DNA and RNA, which provides unique insights into the status of the cell.
For healthcare applications, this information enables patients and physicians to make accurate treatment decisions.
Multiple Form Factors
Our platform has two form factors to enable its use in many different settings.
For use in the field and at home we use a simple paper based test. For this system the sample is applied to the detection card resulting in a visible color change.
To achieve the maximum sensitivity and accuracy in real-time, we can leverage a smartphone to detect the signal in liquid containing the sample of interest.
Ready for Action:
Healthcare Early cancer detection, non-invasive prenatal testing, infectious disease detection, genotyping
Agriculture Identification of soil microbiome content, plant and animal pathogens, crop genotyping
Food Security Bacterial and viral contamination, species identification
Environmental Monitoring Detection of specific organisms in environmental samples and rapid response to emerging diseases
...and even Bioterrorism Detection of harmful biological agents and forensic genotyping