BIOCELLPHE provides frontier scientific and technological advancements to generate a breakthrough technology realizing the identification of proteins (i.e. phenotyping) as diagnostic biomarkers at single-cell level with unmatched sensitivity, multiplexing capabilities and portability. BIOCELLPHE proposes the generation of engineered bacteria able to recognize and bind to specific protein targets on the surface of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) responsible for cancer metastasis, thereby triggering the production of chemical signals that can be detected simultaneously, and with extremely high sensitivity by surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). SERS is a powerful analytical technique that employs plasmonic nanoparticles as optical enhancers for ultrasensitive chemical analysis achieving single-molecule detection level. BIOCELLPHE will implement these advancements toward the generation of an optofluidic lab-on-a-chip SERS device enabling ultrasensitive identification and multiplex phenotyping of CTCs. We anticipate that BIOCELLPHE long-term vision and scientific breakthrough will lead to a sky limit technology that will be widely applicable, not only in the diagnostic arena, but also in many other applications (e.g. biomedical, environmental). No one has previously been able to attempt this vision due to current challenges and technical limitations, but we believe to be in a position to pave a way for achieving this now. To realize this highly ambitious project, BIOCELLPHE gathers a highly multidisciplinary community of leading experts in synthetic biology, nanotechnology, plasmonics, microfluidics, artificial intelligence, and cancer diagnosis. We believe that successful deployment of BIOCELLPHE has the potential to usher in a new era of medical diagnostics and it will provide new paradigms in biology and biomedicine, advancing frontier science and technologies at the European academic and industrial sectors.
Fields of science
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Funding SchemeRIA - Research and Innovation action