Biomolecules and nanostructures
The Optical Sciences group studies the interaction of light and matter. Our current focus is on detection and sensing/imaging with an emphasis on the development of integrated photonics. We are part of Twente University's Department of Science and Technology and member of the MESA+ institute.
Non-radioactive molecular imaging of cancer drugs
The overall goal of the research project performed in a collaboration between the University medical center Groningen (UMCG) and the University of Twente is to develop anti-cancer drugs primarily based on non-radioactive molecular imaging. This research will guide patient-tailored selection of drugs directed at the HER pathway, measure in vivo drug and tumor behavior, and allows dynamic treatment tuning.
Molecular imaging of anti-cancer drugs is performed by labeling fluorescent molecules to the cancer drugs, allowing them to be visualized under a fluorescence microscope.
The used anti-cancer drugs are mainly antibodies. These antibodies are specifically designed to target a certain molecule known to play a role in cancer development. Target molecules are biomolecules known to be more present in tumors than in healthy tissue. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are examples of biomolecules known to be overexpressed in certain cancer types.
Our contribution to this project is to develop techniques to be able to quantify the cancer drugs in tumors and healthy tissue. We also develop techniques to measure effects of cancer drug treatment on cells and tissue using label-free optical imaging. Label-free optical imaging modalities such as coherent anti-stokes Raman scattering and stimulated Raman scattering are used for this.
Finally, we investigate the label-free detection of the anti-cancer drugs and targets in tumor tissue using techniques based on (coherent) Raman spectroscopy.