One of the key factors for successful patient treatment is the rapid and accurate intra-operative diagnostic feedback on probed, excised, and treated tissue. Currently, the tools generating this feedback are inaccurate, slow, cumbersome to apply, and/or labor intensive. We envision a research programme that aims to develop the tools to provide clinicians in an intra-operative setting with accurate and fast feedback that helps them to do their job more efficiently. The successful development of these tools will lead to better patient outcome and lower healthcare costs by allowing for single procedure diagnosis and treatment, minimize the need for re-excisions, and improved treatment.
To achieve the breakthrough in rapid and accurate intra-operative diagnostics, this research programme has a three-pronged holistic approach to develop these tools that encompasses the physics of the image formation, the tissue biochemistry, and the data analysis/visualization. More specifically, the programme aims to
- develop high resolution, large field of view, fast imaging techniques that can obtain the relevant information from deep inside the tissue. These tools combine multi-modal imaging of different kinds of physical properties supported by multi-physics image reconstruction to delivering high resolution images,
- tailoring tissue processing and labelling specifically to the imaging tools and relevant clinical questions. For the application of intra-operative diagnostics, we aim to develop rapid tissue clearing techniques, task specific fluorescent labels, and high contrast ultra-sound bubbles,
- provide rapid intra-operative feedback for the surgeon through automated tissue analysis/visualization. For this we will lift the currently available analysis techniques to higher spatial, temporal, and/or spectral dimensions. In addition, we will leverage artificial intelligence algorithms to obtain the relevant information fast and with high specificity. The data is tailored to clinical decision making by automated regions of interest detection, virtual image staining, and automated tissue classification.
The developed technologies will be tested in an intra-operative setting in the top medical centers of the Netherlands. This programme intends to bring together leading clinicians, physicists, biochemist, and computer scientists in the Netherlands to create a breakthrough in intra-operative diagnostics.
Are you interested to join the team of academic and industrial partners of this initiative? Contact Jeroen Kalkman for more information.