Electronics engineers, physicists, biologists, and physicians will jointly develop a range of sensors for medical applications. The ESSENCE life science project is coordinated by the Darmstadt Technical University and bundles the expertise of several German universities.
Funded with 6 million Euros (about $8.3 million US dollars) for three years, the ESSENCE project will devise innovative sensor concepts and technologies for biomedical analytics and diagnostics. The goal includes the development of electromagnetic sensors in the millimeter and terahertz wave range. By means of these sensors, the scientists hope to fathom out the spatial structure of molecules that can be utilized for the localization and treatment of tumors. Other applications include the analysis of vascular walls. In the area of molecular biology, those sensors will help to determine the interaction of protein and nucleic acids.
"Currently available imaging equipment such as computer tomography or magnetic resonance tomography does not help us to analyze processes at the cell level like vascular deposits," said Georg Rose from the Otto-Guericke University of Magdeburg, one of the scientists who manages the project. "With ultrasound technology or optical coherence tomography we can determine the geometries of such deposits but they don't provide hints as to their nature or danger. Within the ESSENCE program we will develop sensors that provide answers to exactly these questions."
The ESSENCE program is closely interlocked with the STIMULATE project dedicated to the development of image-guided minimally invasive therapies. These therapies could help to hold the cost explosion in public healthcare at bay and focus on widespread diseases in the areas of oncology, neurology, and vascular diseases.
This article originally appeared on EE Times Europe.