The aim of FUN OCT is to expand the non-invasive optical biopsy capability of optical coherence tomography (OCT) and combination of OCT with multiphoton tomography (MT) to develop novel functional capabilities hereby enabling ‘morphofunctional’ performance, i.e. the fusion of anatomic and functional imaging at the cellular resolution level. These methodologies will enable unprecedented non-invasive detection of depth resolved physiological, metabolic as well as molecular specific tissue information, i.e. forming a novel, powerful medical imaging platform. This novel platform fills an important gap left by today’s medical imaging technology. The hypothesis is that the combination of cellular resolution, real time imaging of morphology and depth resolved tissue function could enable a major step forward in early cancer diagnosis and in the early detection of retinal pathologies that are world wide leading causes of blindness. This is accomplished due to a synergistic effect from joining complementary international expertise in the fields of laser sources, OCT, MT and beam delivery system technology. The consortium comprises 6 research groups and 2 SMEs. The consortium will make use of its existing relations to clinical collaborators in order to achieve proof-of-principle validation of the imaging modalities. The outcome contributes directly to improving and to maintaining the quality of life and living conditions of the European aging population through early diagnosis of cancer and of retinal pathologies as well as more efficient therapy monitoring. Moreover, the envisaged imaging modality may in the long term act as a screening device to investigate the prevalence of cancer as a function of geographic (regional) or gender related parameters. Finally, the diagnosis of other age-related diseases in a variety of medical fields, such as cardiology, neurology, gynaecology, and gastroenterology, benefit from this novel diagnostic platform provided by FUN OCT.
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