Biophotonics consortium receives $13.1M to develop new lasers for earlier disease diagnosis

The European Commission has awarded a $13.1 million FP7 grant to a pan-European biophotonics consortium, ‘FAMOS,’ which plans to develop new, advanced lasers and light sources for diagnosing and treating major diseases, including skin cancer and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The four-year FAMOS project has 17 partners from 8 countries, and is being led by Professor Wolfgang Drexler at the Medical University of Vienna.

Although the new lasers will have many applications, the FAMOS consortium is focusing its efforts on unmet clinical needs where optical diagnosis could bring huge benefits, such as:

1. Replacing surgery with noninvasive treatments as the standard for the most common type of skin cancer by better monitoring of tumor response and clearance;

2. Reducing mortality from melanoma and colorectal cancers by earlier detection and accurate noninvasive diagnosis; and

3. Reducing blindness from diseases such as diabetes and AMD by earlier detection and better monitoring of novel emerging drug treatments.

The $13.1 million, along with another $4.5 million contributed from FAMOS' own resources, will fund the research and development of the new light sources, their integration into prototype optical diagnostic instruments, and their initial clinical evaluation.

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