Point-of-care Diagnostic Platform for Cancer Monitoring

Lead Research Organisation: University of Dundee
Department Name: Engineering


We propose to design a point-of-care diagnostic platform for objective prediction of histopathologic diagnosis added by tailored SERS probes for low-threshold detection. Our focus is on a clinically translatable, bedside device for fast and multiplex SERS assays applicable for bladder cancer diagnostics. This is an interdisciplinary research proposal where we bridge the EPSRC portfolio linking the strategic research areas such as Sensors & Instrumentation, Photonic/Plasmonic Materials and Healthcare Technologies themes.

Bladder cancer has the highest recurrence rate of any other cancer, therefore early detection and diagnostics are of paramount importance for prevention of the disease reoccurrence and progression. Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) is a promising optical diagnostics technique with the potential to be used as an optical tool for multiplexed analysis of biomedical samples including tissue, urine and blood. We envisage custom point-of-care device to be used as either an aid to pathologist or as a rapid optical diagnostic tool for onsite tissue/blood/urine sample evaluation. The main aim of the DTP studentship project will be 1) to design a miniature fibre-optic based enclosure encompassing a single point laser based SERS detection with enclosed sample arm, spectrometer, custom software and miniature display; 2) to design tailored SERS probes, based on metal nanoparticles in suspension and immobilised on solid substrates, and to develop "staining" techniques; and 3) to test SERS based diagnostics on urology specimens. Comparisons with competing technologies such as immunoassays will be performed to verify the paths selected. We believe SERS platform provides a vision for a lower cost and higher sensitivity biomedical diagnostics. An Engineering or Physics PhD student capable of navigating into medical device design will be sought to test the concept and kick-start SERS sensor design. Exciting options to delve into challenges of low-cost medical device design (miniature high spectral resolution spectrometer), time-resolved spectroscopy, clinical study design or SERS sensor physical chemistry will provide valuable experience for the prospective student.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513192/1 01/10/2018 31/03/2024
2200175 Studentship EP/R513192/1 01/02/2019 31/07/2022 Manuel Hoffmann