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ESOTRAC - Physicians and engineers collaborate to develop a novel optoacoustic endoscope for early diagnosis of esophageal cancer
With more than 450 000 new cases per year and a five-year survival rate of only 10% when diagnosed late, esophageal cancer (EC) is the sixth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Currently EC is detected using white-light endoscopy or random tissue biopsies, followed by histopathological analysis of excised tissue. Due to limitations of the current detection methods, EC is typically detected at an advanced stage which is treated surgically and attains poor survival prognosis.
ESOTRAC, a 4-year research program bringing together engineers and physicians, aims to significantly improve the detection of early-stage EC. The interdisciplinary, 5-country research team will develop an innovative endoscope that combines sensing of pathophysiological tissue signatures resolved by multi-spectral optoacoustic (photoacoustic) tomography (MSOT) with morphological disease signatures provided by optical coherence tomography (OCT). The resulting system will operate in label free mode and, due to its tomographic ability, visualize sub-surface tissue features, providing superior information of the esophageal wall compared to conventional video endoscopes. This comprehensive sub-surface information is expected to detect early-stage EC and enable disease staging, neither of which can be done reliably today. The novel endoscope can be further useful in reducing the number of unnecessary biopsies by providing more accurate guidance to suspicious areas over white-light endoscopy.
Raising the bar for endoscopic care - and beyond
The device developed by ESOTRAC promises to change the landscape of gastroenterological endoscopy - beyond diagnosis of EC - by allowing rapid three-dimensional imaging of the entire esophageal wall as well as quantitation of disease biomarkers. "The combination of MSOT and OCT can shape the way physicians look at the esophagus in the near future," said Prof. Vasilis Ntziachristos, ESOTRAC Coordinator, Director of the Institute for Biological and Medical Imaging at Helmholtz Zentrum München and Professor and Chair of Biological Imaging at the Technical University of Munich. "From a clinical perspective we desperately need new technologies that improve imaging and combine information on molecular markers for early detection of disease and this research is trying to do exactly that" said Prof. Rebecca Fitzgerald, a world-leading clinical expert in esophageal cancer and lead physician at the MRC Cancer Unit at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in the UK, one of the ESOTRAC partners.
Since one of the goals of ESOTRAC is to offer quantitative metrics of EC disease, toward personalized and precision medicine, the device may help equalize the quality of endoscopy-based care in rural and urban settings. The ESOTRAC endoscope will also be built to be as small and patient-friendly as possible, reducing the risk of gag reflex and therefore the need for sedation. In these ways, ESOTRAC aims to create an endoscope that can be widely deployed in gastroenterology clinics. At the same time, the lessons learned in building the ESOTRAC endoscope may help guide the design of next-generation imaging devices for the other body cavities, including the colon.
A transdisciplinary approach: technology improves diagnosis
To achieve these goals, ESOTRAC unites an international team of scientists and clinicians with world-leading know-how in bio-photonic imaging, ultrasound detectors, laser technology, software, catheters, medical device fabrication, EC clinical management and commercial exploitation. These researchers come from nine world-class universities, research institutes and medical device manufacturers in five European countries. The Helmholtz Zentrum München, as lead partner on the project, will drive the development not only of the endoscope but also of user-friendly operating software. Helmholtz researchers will explore the possibility of integrating an ultrasound module into the endoscope in order to enhance imaging performance and provide additional information that may assist in tumor staging.
ACTPHAST and the Photonics PPP are delighted to announce that they are once again linking up with TechTour to run the European Photonics Venture Forum (EPVF) which aims to deliver increased investment levels in ambitious fast-growing European companies who are building exciting innovative products with photonics.
The EPVF event is specifically designed to bring together top level entrepreneurs, investors, corporates and policy makers in an intense and high-energy programme of investment pitching, ideas sharing, networking and direction setting. The next edition of the EPVF will take place on 10 & 11 May in Dublin, Ireland and we believe this is an opportunity not to be missed and it would be great to see you there.
For companies, applying to pitch to investors at EPVF2017 is free of charge. Selected companies invited to pitch at the event will benefit from:
· Access for 1 participant to the Forum
· Presenting opportunity to a panel of investors and industry experts
· Networking with corporate contacts, VCs & fast-growing companies
· Visibility through website & company profile
· Lunch and coffee breaks
· Networking dinner
· Full conference information pack
The closing date for applications to be included in the Company Presentations to Investors is the end of March 2017.
Drive the Change
What the electron did for 20th century, with advances in electronics and electricity, so will the photon do for technology of the 21st century with photonics.
Photonics provides solutions to many of the global challenges we face, like improved agriculture and farming, offering clean water and sanitisation, and developing the latest medical diagnostics tools to tackle cancers, sepsis, and blindness. With photonics, we are offered the possibility to create a better quality of life for all.
Annual Meeting 2017
Every March, the photonics community from around Europe turns its attention to the Photonics PPP Annual Meeting. Anticipation builds leading up to the latest announcements in policy and direction the European Technology Platform collaboratively works on setting.
Taking place at Le Plaza Hotel, Brussels, this year's Photonics PPP Annual Meeting looks set to usher in a new era with incoming Photonics21 President, Aldo Kamper, CEO of Osram Opto Semiconductor.
The discussion for the future strategic direction of the PPP will be the focus of the General Assembly, as well as the financing opportunities beyond the Horizon 2020 program.
Keynote speakers will include Philippe Vannson, Head of Photonics Unit in DG CONNECT who will discuss how the Commission has been focusing on creating an ecosystem to foster synergies among the members in the value chain, and will continue to invest in Photonics to boost Europe' digital innovation capacities.
Khalil Rouhana, Deputy Director-General of DG CONNECT, will be emphasizing the importance of the Digitising European Industry initiative. This initiative ensures that any industry in Europe can not only benefit from digital innovation but can compete on a global scale, grow and create jobs.
As usual the Photonics21 Student Innovation Award, which has become an exciting pointer for future leaders of the industry or research, will be given to a successful applicant who is under 35 and active in the field of optics and photonics. The winner is awarded a certificate, a trophy and a cash prize of € 5,000.
Over the years the Award has become an established prize for photonics students in order to promote research related to R&D with industrial impact. Past winners include Fenando Guiomar, Benedikt Schwarz, Burak Guzelturk, Fabian Stutzki, Tobias Schwab and Olga Malinkiewicz.
The VOSTARS ('Video Optical See-Through Augmented Reality surgical System') medical visor is a head-mounted display (HMD) system that is capable of superimposing the patient's x-ray images in perfect 3D unison with their anatomy.
The visor also presents a patient's anesthetic data, heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, and breathing rates, conveniently into the surgeon's field of vision, in a drive to increase accuracy by focusing on the operation and reduce time by never having to look away.
The project forecasts a significant improvement of the intervention accuracy coupled with a reduction in times spent in an operation and under anaesthetic by at least 11 %.
Although Augmented Reality for surgical procedures has been talked about in academic and industrial research since the 1990s, a tool joining a surgeon's natural perception with patient data has not yet been widely implemented.
However it has been the use of photonics components, with the small, high-luminous micro display, the LED optical waveguide, and the array of microns to project a 2D x-ray image in front of the user that has been fundamental to realising this one time science fiction.
Project coordinator Dr Vincenzo Ferrari, biomedical engineering researcher at the Department of Information Engineering, at the University of Pisa, explains:
"With this state-of-the-art, highly ergonomic visor, we intend to provide all the information required to improve surgery. The primary goal is to reduce not just surgery times, but also the time spent under anaesthetic and the cost involved in any operation."
"For the patient, this means saving off 20 minutes of every 3 hours of surgery and the guarantee of an extremely accurate intervention," said Dr Ferrari.
In the same way that a facing camera on a smartphone films moving images, the VOSTARS system works by capturing what the surgeon sees from a head-mounted camera. The system then 'merges' this footage of reality with the patient's medical images, from CT, MRI, or 3DUS scans.
The central processor, using the most advanced registration techniques available for surgical navigation, then presents a real-time hybrid image on the visor 'dashboard' to the surgeon.
"Imagine driving with a sat-nav: we know how to drive and roughly where to go, but with real-time information, like speed, distance and time presented to us, we can take the most efficient route in the quickest time and perhaps more safely."
"However, rather than having that information on a small GPS screen, our important patient data, like the surgical target in the anatomy, anaesthetic info, breathing and heart rates for example, are all integrated instantly into the surgical visor.
"A clinician can move freely while still seeing the patient, the hybrid x-ray image and all of critical data all at once in a surgical 'dashboard' inside the screen. The surgeon, the patient and the procedure are all at one."
Scientists at VOSTARS are building a hybrid of the two existing AR headsets approaches that combines all the benefits of both a video see-through (VST) system and optical see-through (OST) head-mounted display.
Fabrizio Cutolo, engineer and expert in wearable augmented reality systems, believes neither VST nor OST alone was suitable for operating on a live patient:
"When operating on a real person, it was clear to us that the benefits of OST and VST systems could be combined to make a hybrid device."
In 'optical see-through' (OST) systems, as in Microsoft Hololens, the user has a direct view of the natural environment with the computer-generated images superimposed on a user's field of vision using a semi-transparent mirror. This gives the user a more naturalistic experience, superimposing small amounts of the virtual onto the real world.
With 'video see-through' (VST) systems (as seen in the Occulus Rift headsets), the user is submerged in the virtual world, seeing through a closed head-mounted display (HMD) together with stereo cameras, experiencing life through screens. Since VST systems capture the video-image as seen by the user in real time it is good for aligning the real and virtual worlds.
"For something as critical as an operation, we had to have the naturalistic 'feel' of OST, while having the fluid interaction of the VST. Therefore a brand new device had to be made from scratch, rather than extend an existing technology. The VST-OST Augmented Reality hybrid was born".
Already 3 months into the 3 year project, VOSTARS aims to have a working prototype of the hybrid device ready for May of 2018. Initially being trialled on a number of procedures to the head, including Maxillofacial (jaws and face) surgery, neuro surgery, ENT (ear, nose and throat) and orthopedic surgery, the project hopes to be available to end users in 3 years, with mass production by 2022.
Coordinated in Italy at Department of Information Engineering and the EndoCAS Center for Computer Assisted Surgery (Pisa University), the VOSTARS project received a grant of €3,816,440 from Horizon 2020 via the Photonics Public Private Partnership.
For more information download the full press release.
Together with several partners, project coordinator Politecnico di Milano is developing an innovative, multimodal tomographic system to improve the diagnosis of breast cancer as part of the SOLUS project (Smart OpticaL and UltraSound diagnostics of breast cancer). The system combines optical methods, a smart optode performing diffuse optical tomography, and conventional ultrasound imaging but also advanced quantitative elastography.
The project aims to develop a multimodal imaging system which can classify breast lesions detected by mammography screening in a non-invasive manner, and significantly improve the ability to differentiate between benign and malignant lesions. Invasive investigations such as biopsies, are currently carried out in an unnecessarily high number of cases. Many of which can be avoided by improved characterisation of lesions.
New and revolutionary concepts in photonics and electronics will be exploited to develop novel components for the SOLUS system, and in particular an innovative smart optode, a small and low-cost device for optical tomography.
The multimodal approach of SOLUS for breast imaging will produce a global multi-parametric classification of breast lesions, where all parameters related to the degree of malignancy of breast lesions will be evaluated simultaneously:
- Ultrasound imaging, currently used for clinical diagnosis, will provide anatomical information
- Elastography will estimate the stiffness of the tissue, which tends to be higher in malignant tumors
- Optical tomography will assess tissue composition. It measures water, lipid and collagen content, as well as functional blood parameters such as blood volume and oxygenation levels. Additionally, characteristic quantities of the light diffusion in tissue, provide information on its microscopic structure.
Several components developed by the project for the SOLUS system will also have potential applications in other fields, ranging from wearable devices to monitor muscular oxygenation or the threshold for the formation of lactate during sports training and medical rehabilitation to non-destructive assessment of the quality of fruit and vegetables.
SOLUS is coordinated by Politecnico di Milano (Prof. Paola Taroni, Department of Physics) and relies on a multidisciplinary consortium bringing together engineers, physicists and radiologists from 9 partners from industry, academia and the clinical field. The European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, EIBIR, supports the management of the projects and leads the dissemination activities. The project started in late 2016, receives €3,8M funding from the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme and will run for 4 year, until October 2020.
Download the full press release
Photonics research requires significant levels of financial investment. So in order to sustain Europe's Industrial competitiveness and leadership in these photonic market sectors, Europe needs to better exploit the innovation leverage potential of regional innovation clusters and national platforms. EPRISE will target the regional and national authorities in order to better explain to them about the economic benefits and high societal impact of Photonics as a key emerging technology in their region and to promote cooperation on funding between regions.
Europe's photonics industry is facing global market competition and has to cope with a very high speed of technological developments in the field. While scientists and researchers have made great strides in advancing the application of photonics in these market sectors, there is still plenty of work to be done. Companies developing photonics-based products for these markets face highly specific Go2Market challenges such as long time to market adoption, complex regulatory frameworks and high barriers to market entry. The EPRISE consortium will organise a series of European photonics workshops over the next 2 ½ years, with the aim of providing SMEs with solutions on how to overcome the market entry barriers. Utilising advice from a panel of experts, the project consortium will gather together information about available public funding to aid SMEs in the process. Pre-arranged business to business meetings at these events will also boost collaboration between companies at both regional and national European levels.
The project coordinator, Cecilia Pinto from photonics innovation cluster Optitec in France commented – "We are delighted to be able to announce the start of this new support programme in Photonics which will see a Europe-wide cooperation between regional photonics clusters, National photonics networks and regional authorities to help companies, particularly Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs), to accelerate the commercialization of new photonics products in the Healthcare and Agri-Food markets. Such a joined-up approach will surely benefit consumers, patients, providers and manufacturers together."
The EPRISE project is a coordination and support action funded by the European Commission through the ICT part of the Horizon 2020 Programme in collaboration with Photonics21, the European Technology Platform (ETP) representing the European Photonics Community.
Download the full press release
#next_photonics – is the title of the upcoming Photonics Public Private Partnership Annual Meeting which will be held on the 28 and 29 March 2017 in the Le Plaza Hotel in Brussels.
Kicking off the discussion for the future strategic direction of the Photonics PPP in Europe will be the main focus of the General Assembly and the Work Group sessions. The event further provides you with information about the Photonics PPP achievements, latest news on EU calls and financing opportunities beyond the Horizon 2020 programme.
Be part of the change and do not miss this chance to network with the European Commission, Parliament and Regions and with colleagues from Photonics Industry and Science.
You can download the event announcement for further details on the event.
To register please go to: https://photonics.emendo-emex.de/registration
You can view the event programme.
Le Plaza Hotel (meeting venue)
Contact details of the hotel:
Tel. +32 2 278 01 00 firstname.lastname@example.org
Other hotels nearby the meeting venue
You can download a list of other hotels close to the Le Plaza Hotel.
The event is kindly sponsored by:
The conference will include:
- regular sessions with papers from the open call (to be submitted to IEEE Xplore), the call being at available at http://www.eucnc.eu/?q=node%2F58;
- workshops, the call being available at http://www.eucnc.eu/?q=node%2F60;
- special sessions, the call being available at http://www.eucnc.eu/?q=node%2F94;
- poster sessions, the call being available at http://www.eucnc.eu/?q=node%2F59;
- tutorials, the call being available at http://www.eucnc.eu/?q=node%2F172;
- keynote talks;
- demos and exhibitions, the call being available at http://www.eucnc.eu/?q=node%2F84.
We invite you and your colleagues to submit a paper to the conference, as well as proposals for workshops, special sessions and tutorials, by 6th February 2017.
The call addresses several areas with different funding schemes. The specific challenges for Photonics are to sustain competitiveness & leadership in market sectors where Europe is strong (communications, medical photonics, sensing), to seize new opportunities, to strengthen the manufacturing base, boost the innovation capacity of SMEs and leverage innovation in clusters & national platforms.
ICT30.a Research and Innovation Actions
- Application driven core photonic technology developments for agile Petabit/s Optical Core and Metro Networks
- Photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology
- Disruptive approaches to optical manufacturing by 2 and 3 D opto-structuring
ICT30.b Innovation Actions
- Innovation Incubator for SMEs
- Application driven core photonic devices integrated in systems
Focus is on:
- Biophotonics: imaging systems for in-depth disease diagnosis
- Sensing for process and product monitoring and analysis
ICT30.c Coordination and Support actions
- Supporting the industrial strategy for photonics in Europe
The call text is available on the Participant Portal.
The infoday will also allow participants to present their ideas for proposal -in the specific context of seeking partners- and to network with other participants. Moreover, it will be possible to ask Commission staff questions related to proposal ideas.
Due to the expected high number of participants, you are encouraged to attend only the thematic session of your direct interest.
The LED professional Symposium +Expo (LpS) is the leading annual European lighting conference focusing on technologies, innovations and applications. The LpS 2017 will emphasize “Smart Technologies for Lighting Innovations” and cover the latest trends in application areas. Experts from academia and industry are invited to submit an abstract and present their newest research, developments, innovations and expectations for future trends to a highly qualified audience. Between the 26th and 28thof September 2017, expert speakers, attendees and exhibitors from more than 50 countries will exchange their technological know-how at the Festspielhaus in Bregenz, Austria.
8 Benefits of Being an LpS Speaker
- You have the chance to win the LED professional Scientific Award.- Your paper will be published in the LpS 2017 proceedings booklet.
- You will receive a 3-day Symposium Pass, a proceedings booklet and access to all lectures.
- You will receive a ticket to the Get-Together event on Lake Constance.
- You will have the chance to exchange information with international lighting experts.
- You can expand your knowledge on current and future trends and developments.
- You can visit over 100 leading businesses showing their products, equipment and services.
- You can make new contacts and participate in numerous networking opportunities.
Application Areas for the Abstract
The theme of the abstracts can be taken from the following application areas: Human Centric Lighting, Indoor Lighting, Outdoor Lighting, Automotive Lighting, Transportation Lighting, Architectural Lighting, Signage Lighting, Stage Lighting, Museum Lighting, Horticultural Lighting and Medical Lighting.
The presentation topics can range from information about Lighting Systems, Light Sources, Optics, Electronics, Drivers, Thermal Management, Measurement, Testing, Security, Reliability, Smart Controls, Smart Sensing, Intelligent Lighting, Networks, Cloud Systems, IT Systems, Software, Apps, Standardizations, Lighting Design, Cost, Manufacturing and Equipment.
Requirements and Website
The submitted papers must be original material and not have been previously presented or published and should cover latest technologies, innovations or market insights. The selected papers will be presented in English in a 25-minute time slot at the LpS 2017 conference.
You can submit your abstract at: www.LpS2017.com/call-for-papers.
For more information about the event see this year’s LpS Event video https://youtu.be/phE43GJZc-8.
- Feb 3, 2017: Call for Papers Deadline
- April 3, 2017: Notification of Acceptance
- June 2, 2017: Submission of Full Paper
- Sept 11, 2017: Submission of Final Presentation
- Sept 26-28, 2017: Lecture at the LpS 2017 Event