Nanospectra has a broad, proprietary technology platform for the use of optically active nanoparticles in therapeutic, diagnostic and commercial applications. Our principal focus is the development of AuroLase® Therapy for the ablation of solid tumors and we have commenced our first clinical study in refractory and recurrent head and neck cancer. Additional cancer indications are in development.

We currently manufacture and conduct research activities using AuroShell® Particles (e.g., nanoshells), nanorods and other nanomaterials. We have an extensive collaborative network with researchers and we have received federal funding to investigate the use of our materials in diverse commercial applications, including:

  • Enhancement of radiation therapy
  • Cancer imaging contrast agents for:
    • Optical Coherence Tomography
    • Photoacoustic tomography
    • Radiolabeling
    • Narrowband imaging
    • Enhanced fluorescence
    • Two-Photon Luminescence
  • Laser Eye Protection in Near-Infrared
  • Surface Enhanced Raman Sensing


Medical Therapy and Imaging Using Plasmon Resonant Particles

The growing use of nanoparticles in medical imaging and therapy is enabled by their optical “tunability.” By altering their shape or structure, some nanoparticles can be designed to absorb specific wavelengths of light, including the near-infrared.
Blood and tissue will absorb most wavelengths of light (e.g., blue, green, red). However, wavelengths that are invisible to the eye, such as certain ranges in the infrared region, will penetrate through human tissue with minimal absorption.

Nanoparticle Technology

AuroShell particles consist of a thin layer of gold surrounding a silica core. The physics of this structure are unique which allow the particle to absorb or scatter different wavelengths compared to other solid spheres. For example, solid gold nanoparticles will absorb green light. However, an AuroShell particle with a gold shell can be designed to absorb different wavelengths, including the near infrared.
Because light in the near infrared will penetrate through tissue, nanoparticles designed to absorb in the infrared have enabled new therapeutic and diagnostic applications. See AuroLase Therapy to learn more about the technology.


Our Intellectual Property

We have an exclusive license to 11 issued patents from Rice University that have broad claims related to:

  • the production of AuroShell Particles
  • the use of nanoparticles for the photothermal ablation of tumors
  • the use of nanoparticles as contrast agents for medical imaging
  • the use of nanoparticles for surface enhanced Raman sensing

In addition, we have one issued and three pending patent applications for other commercial uses of nanoparticles, including laser eye protection, ablation of tumor cells with other energy sources, the enhancement of the effects of radiation, and other uses.

We also have licenses from other universities for various commercial applications.These licenses include a license from The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) for a patent issued to Rinat Esenaliev, PhD, for the use of nanoparticles in therapy, and a license from The University of Texas at Austin for a pending patent application filed by James Tunnell, PhD.