Miniature spectrometers for real-time accurate cancer diagnosis

Anteryon is proud to be a partner for the InSPECT project, together with Philips, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Fraunhofer, XiO, Xenics, Aifotec, Avantes

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Miniature broadband (400-1700 nm) solid-state light source and low-cost integrated VIS/NIR/SWIR spectrometers offer image-guided spectral tissue sensing biopsy.

Each year 12 million people are confronted with the diagnosis of cancer (source WHO 2012).  A number which is expected to rise to 22 million within the next two decades (World Cancer Report 2014). According to the World Health Organization early detection could reduce the mortality rate with 30%.  Biophotonics offers powerful tools to support faster and more accurate screenings.

A biopsy is the only method of testing to conclude unquestionably if tissue is cancerous. Physicians can opt for different biopsy methods, one of them being a needle biopsy to collect cells from a suspicious area.   Today physicians are still severely hampered by the lack of precision of the needle tip location during an intervention. For example 25% of lung cancers suffer a false negative outcome through traditional biopsy methods.

Without a clear diagnosis, a second biopsy can be required which increases not merely the risks of complications and the cost of oncology screening but more importantly causes delays in treatments for patients.   Biopsy needles with integrated photonics for image-guided tissue sensing offer real-time and more accurate diagnosis that can significantly improve the treatment.

However, for widespread adoption, physicians need low-cost and easy-to-use miniaturized devices allowing to perform spectral tissue sensing at Point of Care locations such as physicians consultation rooms and decentralized healthcare centers.

The InSPECT project develops key enabling technology building blocks for miniature spectrometer devices, as an alternative for the bulky and expensive spectrometer instruments that are currently commercially available.

With the aim to make cancer biopsies more accurate, more accessible in a timely and cost-effective manner, InSPECT develops different building blocks:

1. the miniaturization of a broadband (400-1700 nm) all-solid state light source based on a LED

2. the miniaturization of a broadband (400-1700 nm) spectrometer to a cubic inch format and in a next phase to a small photonic integrated chip, operational in the full wavelength range (400-1700nm).

The new generation of biophotonic spectrometers opens also the door to new surgical devices. According to Prof. dr. Theo Ruers, Professor of Surgical Oncology at the Netherlands Cancer Institute:  “There is possibility to use those technologies in smart surgical devices so the surgeon knows exactly if he/she is cutting into tumorous or into normal tissue. Another application could be to develop implantable tissue sensors.