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The Biomed Divisió Leitat is located at the Barcelona Science Park (Photo: Leitat).

Leitat leads GLAM, a European project to improve cancer diagnosis

A European consortium led by Centre Tecnològic Leitat –through its Biomed Divisionlocated at the Barcelona Science Park (PCB)– has started the Glass-Laser Multiplexed Biosensor (GLAM) project, the aim of which is to develop a photonic-based point-of-care device for a non-invasive diagnosis of Genitourinary Cancer (GU). The GLAM project which will expand for 4 years will involve the participation of 10 European organizations with resources and capabilities from the academia and scientific and business field, among them the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), located at PCB. 


The GLAM project, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme, involves three spanish partners –Leitat (coordinator), IBEC and the Institute of Photonic Sciences, ICFO (Spain)– and the University of Twente and Radboud University Medical Center (The Netherlands), the Free University of Brussels and the Obelis Group (Belgium), Novelic (Serbia), WizSoft (Israel) and OptoCap (UK).

The members of the consortium will combine medical research with basic research and biotechnology to develop in a four-year term a new diagnostic tool to detect biomarkers from biofluids obtained in a non-invasive manner, focusing on urine and genitourinary cancers. The project will develop an integrated device based on novel label-free photonic biosensors with ultra-sensitivity, simplicity of use, portability, multiplexing and low cost.

“Most cancer biopsies must be analyzed in specialized laboratories, which involves high costs and long waiting periods, as they require specialised personnel and equipment,” says the project coordinator, Izabel Alfany, International Project Manager-Healthcare at Leitat. “There is therefore a real need and urgency to have new devices that provide diagnosis, prognosis, and data monitoring faster and with exceptional ultra-sensitivity,” explains the research project director, Francesc Mitjans, director of the Biomed Division at Leitat.

Elena Martínez, senior researcher at IBEC says: “The device will make use of the unprecedented sensitivity that can be achieved using laser micro-ring resonators – devices using the same principle as a whispering gallery, but with light instead of sound.”

Last, the unique GLAM technology will have the potential to be used with other types of biofluids, opening the way to the diagnosis and monitoring of other kinds of cancer and many more diseases.