A laboratory of biomedical photoacoustics is being created on the basis of the Saratov National Research State University, which will focus on the development of revolutionary approaches in the diagnosis and therapy (theranostics) of oncological, cardiovascular and infectious diseases. The laboratory and clinical complex should open in December of this year.
The project “Photoacoustic technologies for early theranostics of metastatic tumors” was awarded a grant from the Russian Government. The funds will be used to purchase high-tech equipment and directly develop innovative technology. Its purpose lies in the non-invasive photoacoustic detection of circulating tumor cells in the patient’s vessels.
The clinical potential of the method was demonstrated in patients with melanoma: scientists were able to “look at” one circulating cancer cell in one liter of blood, which is 1000 times better than classical analysis methods. This means that tumor cells can be detected at the earliest stage of the disease and then destroyed by targeted delivery of anticancer drugs using nanoprobes and/or laser-triggered photothermal and photomechanical effects.
The laboratory will have all the infrastructure that allows it to solve complex problems related not only to scientific research, but also to the development of research and medical devices. As a result of this activity, an experimental prototype of a multifunctional technical platform for photoacoustic flow cytometry (PAFC) should appear. After this, the scientists intend to conduct pilot tests on volunteers and then on patients with melanoma by non-invasive, highly sensitive detection of melanoma CTCs directly in blood vessels. According to the authors of the project, the transition from basic research to clinical trials should occur in the third year.