Optical Sciences

Biomolecules and nanostructures

The Optical Sciences group studies the interaction of light and matter at the nanoscale. We do this by exploring ways to shape light and its environment. It's what we call active and passive control. Our current focus is on the interaction of light with biomolecules and nanostructures. We are part of Twente University's Department of Science and Technology and member of the MESA+ institute.
We participate in the EU-COST actions MP1102: Coherent Raman microscopy (MicroCor) and CM1202: Supramolecular photocatalytic water splitting (PERSPECT-H2O)


Non-radioactive molecular imaging of cancer drugs

  • Rick Krabbendam - PhD student
  • Bente Elschot - Master's Student
  • Jennifer Herek - Chair
  • Cees Otto - MCBP Utwente

  • 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.

    This figure shows the fluorescence emission from the fluorophores attached to the anti-cancer drugs
    This figure shows the fluorescence emission from the fluorophores attached to the anti-cancer drugs


    The following articles have been published regarding this project:

    Hybrid imaging of fluorescently labeled cancer drugs and label-free four-wave mixing microscopy of cancer cells and tissues

    (abstract) (full pdf)
    Rick Krabbendam, Martin Pool, Liesbeth G. de Vries, Herman L. Offerhaus, Jennifer L. Herek, Cees Otto
    Journal of Biomedical Optics
    Vol. 20 Issue 8, p 086006 Aug 13, 2015
    Printable version