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Laser and Ultrasound Co-Analyzer for thyroid nodules

Project description

Accurate detection of thyroid cancer at the point of care

Thyroid nodules are lumps in the thyroid gland most often of benign origin. To exclude the possibility of thyroid cancer, these nodules are evaluated using ultrasound imaging and biopsy. The EU-funded LUCA project aims to overcome the limited accuracy of existing screening methods that lead to false positive results and unnecessary surgeries. For this purpose, the project proposes to develop an innovative and affordable diagnostic device that provides comprehensive information on tissue morphology, composition, and function. Apart from improved specificity, the LUCA device will be easy to use at the point of care.


This is a trans-disciplinary project that joins endocrinologists (“end-users”), radiologists (“end-users”), physicists who are
experts in medical photonics, engineers who are experts in photonics and ultrasonics and the industry to work towards a
concentrated goal - to produce a novel, point-of-care, low-cost, screening device that combines two photonics systems
(near-infrared diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) and time-resolved spectroscopy (TRS)) with a multi-modal ultrasound
(US) system and a probe that enables multi-modal data acquisition for the screening of thyroid nodules (TN) for thyroid
cancer (TC). TN are a common pathology having a prevalence of palpable nodules around 5% in women and 1% in men,
that increases to 19-76% with the use of neck US. In screening thyroid nodules, to exclude thyroid cancer which occurs in
5-15% of TN, the first step is the US followed by fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) of suspicious nodules. The sensitivity
and specificity of this process in thyroid cancer are limited, with a large number of non-diagnostic and false positive results
that lead to unnecessary surgeries. A reduction in the number of surgeries with a point-of-care diagnostic procedure would
have an important socio-economic impact, diminishing the number of thyroidectomies and the associated comorbidities. This
implies savings of millions of euros per year. Evidence shows that multi-modal approaches that include hemodynamic
information leads to better specificity while each modality on its own fails. We hypothesize that a new optical-ultrasound
probe and integrated system enabled by the development of novel, key enabling photonic components and sub-systems to
provide synergetic information on tissue morphology, composition and function will have a large impact in this field. Our
action is directed by end-users who participate in the proposal and will be exploited by the industrial partners who cover the
whole value-chain.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 048 730,37
Avinguda carl friedrich gauss 3
08860 Castelldefels

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Este Cataluña Barcelona
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,01

Participants (8)