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Nano photonics per precision medicine in oncology: the Hospital in the Needle and related technologies

DIETI Contact person / Partner: Antonello Cutolo


In the last years there has been an increasing interest to try to reduce the collateral effects in any kind of clinical therapy. In particular, the precision medicine has become a strategical target in oder to reduce the quantity of drug to be delivered to the patient. This approach is becoming almost a golden rule in any oncology threatment. On this line of argument and taking advantage on the tremendous progress made in the field of optical fiber sensors a new idea came out the lab on fiber from which the most natural extension for medical application was the hospital in the needle. The Hospital in the Needle is a large research strategy finalized to realize a single needle able to simultaneously perform, with only one insertion, all the following operations:

  • Detection of cancer markers and MIRNA;
  • High resolution localized ecography totally integrated inside the needle;
  • Optical recognition of sick areas by linear and non linear optical spectroscopy;
  • Ultrasound selective destructions of sick tissue;
  • Localized drug delivery;
  • System for automatic guidance of the needle;
  • Laser surgery


The objective of this proposal is to develop a nanostructured nano-biophotonic able to accurately detect circulating miRNAs, that is at same time cheaper and have limited invasiveness compared to the methods currently used for screening.



Can be assigned to one doctoral student of cycle XXXVI