In Europe there are 3 million new cancer cases per year. According to the WHO the burden of cancer can be reduced by systematic and equitable implementation of evidence based strategies for cancer prevention, early detection and management of patients with cancer. 33% of the cancer burden could be reduced if detected early and treated adequately. The WHO concludes that, early diagnosis of cancers could save the developed world an average of 40 billion per year on medical costs and 80 billion per year on realized productivity. The direct savings on medical treatment alone would be more than 10.000 per patient if early detection was possible. Early cancer diagnosis today consists of recognition of some of the early signs by the patient themselves or detection from screenings carried out on specific population groups. If something suspicious is found the next step is to perform a blood analysis and/or to look with non-invasive imaging techniques. Current imaging techniques are widely used in diagnostic procedures but they cannot give conclusive evidence of cancer.
Today, only a biopsy and the subsequent pathologist s interpretation can give a definitive diagnosis of cancer and this is not always enough EDOCAL will use a tunable blue laser to selectively excite an accumulated photo sensitizer, called proto-porphyrin. This sensitizer is taken by the patient to enhance contrast between healthy and cancerous tissue. Reflected light is filtered using state of the art ultra narrow photonic crystal technology. Initial studies have shown that it is possible to detect cancerous tissue using blue light in combination with FDA approved sensitizers (ALA-5 and Proto-Porphyrin). This tool will be based on the principle of preferential retention of proto-porphyrin by cancer cells. The purpose of this project is to create a breakthrough tool for early cancer detection by combining state of the art laser and imaging technology with leading medical research.