Accurate Diagnosis of prostate cancer using Optoacoustic detection of biologically functionalized gold Nanoparticles - A new Integrated Biosensor System

Project duration: 01.11.2005 - 31.01.2009    terminated


Specific Targeted Research Project no NMP4-CT-2005-016880
Supported by the 6th Framework Programme of the European Commission



Fraunhofer-Institute for Biomedical Engineering


University Berne, - Institute of Applie Physics, Berne - CH
Liège University - Mass Spectrometry Laborartory, Liège - B
El.En. S.P.A., Calenzano - I
The Institute of Cancer Research, Sutton Surrey - UK
tp21 GmbH, Berlin - D




Prostate cancer

is the most common male-specific cancer. The choice of treatment and its efficacy depends strongly on the stage of the cancer when it is diagnosed. Screening procedures for males older than 30 years of age are well established and begin with digital palpation and ultrasound imaging. In case of a suspect result, further tests such as the blood level of prostate specific antigen (PSA) test and biopsy are carried out. However, only 80 percent of prostate cancers are diagnosed in the early stages.

By providing a more accurate and precise tool for diagnosing prostate cancer in its early stages, the percentage of curable cancer patients would increase dramatically. A lot of research work has attempted to achieve this goal by using medical imaging with planar and computed tomography, X-Ray systems or magnetic resonance imaging; yet the use of these systems for screening and diagnosis is limited due to their high costs and/or lack of sensitivity. Ultrasound imaging systems are low-cost, but their effectiveness for prostate cancer screening is limited by poor sensitivity and lack of molecular specificity. A cost-efficient imaging technique with significantly improved sensitivity and specificity would be extremely valuable.


intends to prove the concept of using optoacoustic imaging of gold-labelled antibodies as an integrated biosensor based imaging system for the production of specific and sensitive data for prostate cancer diagnoses.

The achievement of this objective requires excellent know-how on a variety of scientific and technologic fields such as laser and ultrasound technologies and image reconstruction, as well as the the bio-functionalization of nanoparticles, system integration and experiments to evaluate the application potential of the technique.

To achieve the project objectives, the partners of ADONIS, coming from five European countries, are combining the necessary interdisciplinary know-how in a jointly defined work programme, which comprises the development and integration of the necessary laser and ultrasound transducer components with bio-functionalized nanoparticles.

One of these contributing partners, the Institute of Cancer Research, will experimentally evaluate the effectiveness of the developments during the course of the project, feeding back results and comments in order to optimize the technological components of the ADONIS system.


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