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Lens-Free Imaging Targets Metastatic Cancer Cells

LOUVAIN, Belgium, Feb. 3, 2014 — Lens-free digital imaging could be key in earlier detection of the spread of highly aggressive cancer cells, greatly improving a patient’s chance of survival.

European Research Council consolidator grant funds will further the development of lens-free digital imaging, which would specifically target metastatic cancer cells. The Single Cell Analysis and Sorting Platform based on lens-free digital imaging applied to Rapid Cancer Detection (SCALPEL) project is led by a team at imec, a microelectronics research center in Belgium.

The Single Cell AnaLysis and Sorting Platform, based on lens-free digital imaging.

This imaging will be used to observe the physical morphology of single cells flowing through a microfluidic network, with gentle cell-sorting switches to route the cells toward different outlets. This would combine the virtues of high-content microscopic imaging with those of automated high-throughput technologies, imec said.

The research will receive €2 million (about $2.7 million) over five years. The team will develop a device designed to help pathologists, surgeons and nurses improve individualized follow-up and survival rate of cancer patients.

Imec will collaborate with researchers from the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology in Baltimore and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven department of oncology.

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