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. For more information, visit www.imec.be.