Researchers from Jena, together with European partners from research, medicine, and industry, want to develop a novel microscopy technology and bring it to market. It should help to track down the cellular origins of cancer diseases and decisively advance precision medicine. With this goal in mind, the team from Leibniz IPHT, Jena University Hospital (UKJ), and laser system manufacturer Active Fiber Systems launched the transnational transdisciplinary research project CRIMSON (Coherent Raman Imaging for the Molecular Study of the Origin of ­Diseases) in ­December 2020. The coordinator is the ­Politecnico di Milano.

Together with other leading research institutions and ­companies from Italy, the UK, and France, they are ­developing a biophotonic imaging device based on next-­generation coherent Raman microscopy for biomedical research. It combines advanced laser techniques with data analysis through artificial intelligence. The European Commission is funding the project with more than 5 million euros over 42 months.

Innovative microscopy technology for imaging inside the body

„Our goal is to bring an innovative, label-free microscopy technology to the market and to the clinic that makes it possible to detect changes in cells on the basis of a molecular fingerprint,“ explains Jürgen Popp. In perspective, the microscopic method will also be used for endoscopic imaging inside the body and enable rapid, highly precise tissue diagnostics. „This innovative technology will enable us to better understand the interaction between cancer cells in the head and neck region and the cells of the immune system,“ adds Orlando Guntinas-Lichius, director of the Department of Otolaryngology at UKJ. For the planned device, the Jena-based company Active Fiber Systems (AFS) is developing a new type of compact fiber laser that will enable the researched microscopic method to be used directly in the clinic in the future.