A blood test to diagnose cancer. Important steps forward with the ULTRAPLACAD project
ULTRAPLACAD is a research project funded by the European Commission under the Framework Programme for research and innovation Horizon 2020 and aims to develop a new technology able to diagnose cancer through a simple blood test, avoiding the need for tissue biopsies. In the first 18 months after its launch, the European project has achieved the first important results that will soon lead to the development of a laboratory industrial prototype to be tested clinically at the Regina Elena National Cancer Institute in Rome.
Selected from over 450 innovative research proposals, the ULTRAPLACAD project is based on the realization of a nanophotonic biosensor that exploits light to detect minute amounts of tumour markers in the blood. This revolutionary idea could lead to earlier diagnosis of cancer and a reduction in costs for the healthcare system, through a technology called “liquid biopsy”. The project involves 13 European universities, research centres, industries and small and medium-sized enterprises coordinated by Giuseppe Spoto, a Professor at the Department of Chemical Sciences of the University of Catania and Head of the Catania Unit of the Interuniversity Consortium INBB.
During the first 18 months, the ULTRAPLACAD project activities have led to the identification of the technical specifications needed for the development of an innovative imaging technology able to identify even minute amounts of tumour markers in the blood. These results will soon lead to the development of the first laboratory industrial prototype for cancer diagnosis that will be tested in a first clinical trial at the Regina Elena National Cancer Institute in Rome. In addition to the Interuniversity Consortium INBB and the Regina Elena National Cancer Institute in Rome, the other Italian realities involved in the project are the University of Ferrara and the company Scriba Nanotecnologie.