Funded with € 6 million for three years, the ESSENCE project will device innovative sensor concepts and technologies for biomedical analytics and diagnostics. The goal includes the development of electromagnetic sensors in the millimetre and terahertz wave range. By means of these sensors, the scientists hope to fathom out the spatial structure of molecules that can be utilised for the localisation and treatment of tumours. 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 analyse processes at the cell level like vascular deposits", says professor Georg Rose from the Otto-Guericke University of Magdeburg, one of the scientists who manage 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.