Joint Research — Let’s light it up together

The focus of joint research is on most modern cancer diagnostics.

The intraoperative diagnosis and treatment of tissue is a ­fundamental challenge for physicians. First, they have to differentiate benign ­changes reliably and quickly from tumor tissue. If a tumor is detected, it should at best be completely removed at the first procedure and as much healthy tissue as possible should be saved, which would mean a huge improvement for the patient.

Compact micro-endoscopes that combine fast, label-free imaging techniques and automated analysis routines with fiber-based laser sources and latest micro-optical systems have the potential to revolutionize tissue diagnostics. When integrated into a compact endoscope, physicians could detect suspicious changes in the body without real-time tissue sampling and isolate tumors from healthy tissue during surgery. This ­significantly reduces the risk of residual tumor remaining in the patient’s body, ­eliminating the need for re-operation of the patient. The Leibniz IPHT is researching different fiber-based concepts and procedures for imaging and diagnostics through a “keyhole”.

Combining expertise at UC Davis in optical spectroscopy and imaging techniques such as fluorescence lifetime imaging and expertise at Leibniz IPHT in photonic health technologies such as Raman Spectroscopy, multimodal imaging, will allow us to ­develop new tools for tumor margin detection as well as for staging and ­grading tumors. The fast and label-free techniques provide complementary information about morphological and chemical composition of tissue. Integrated in microscopes or micro-­endoscopes, we want to apply these biophotonic methods for tumor identification already during surgery.

By ­establishing tandem activities between institutions in ­Germany and North ­America, we aim at promoting an exchange of views and dialogue at the interface of biophotonic science, innovation and ­societal benefit.