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Endoscopic Microscop for Cancer Detection and Treatment


Für den Inhalt der Angaben zeichnet die Projektleitung verantwortlich.


Dieses von der Gebert Rüf Stiftung geförderte Projekt wird von folgenden weiteren Projektpartnern mitgetragen: EPFL; EPFL-PSE; University of Zurich; CHUV; Johannes Gutenberg University Clinic,Mainz, Germany


  • Projekt-Nr: GRS-023/11 
  • Förderbeitrag: CHF 344'000 
  • Bewilligung: 01.11.2011 
  • Dauer: 01.2012 - 05.2013 
  • Handlungsfeld:  Pilotprojekte, 1998 - 2018



In today’s ageing society, cancer has become the number one cause of death worldwide. The most common cancers (carcinoma) originate from microscopic cancerous spots within the superficial tissue layer of organs, such as the digestive tract, the skin, the lungs, etc. According to the American Cancer Society, the detection and treatment of such early-stage tumours has the potential to increase the likelihood of survival of cancer patients above 90%. As of yet, however, no reliable method exists for early-stage diagnosis in spite of intensive research.

To address this medical need, an interdisciplinary team of scientists at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the University of Zürich - in direct consultation with medical experts from the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) - is undertaking efforts to develop a novel, medical, endoscopic microscope that will enable medical doctors to have quasi histo-pathological insights into living tissue. This novel device will allow for the selective detection and micro-surgery, with sub-cellular precision, tumour spots, which are invisible with conventional methods. The diagnosis time will decrease from weeks to minutes; and a multitude of unnecessary, painful and expensive biopsies could be avoided. Particularly for recurrent cancer types, the early detection and direct removal of even the smallest cancer spots might lead to a significantly higher rate of complete cure.

Was ist das Besondere an diesem Projekt?

Compared to existing imaging technologies that tackle similar medical problems, we have developed a revolutionary, microchip-based microscopy method that allows for scaling up the size of the imaged area, without losing on image resolution. Next to this paradigm shift from classical optics, the imaging chip is highly suitable for advanced, non-linear imaging methods. This opens the possibility of histo-pathological tissue imaging in-vivo, without external stains, thereby increasing the quality of healthcare and reducing risks for the patient.


As a result of this project, financed by Gebert Rüf Stiftung, the company SamanTree Technologies AG has been founded, to continue the development and commercialization of the large-field confocal endomicroscopy technology.

On the technological side following achievements have been made:
- The ex-vivo large-field confocal imaging platform is functional and running. This microscopy system will be used to initiate product co-development and licensing discussions with industrial partners.
- Achievement of the technological proof of concept for the in-vivo imaging chips. This POC is the basis for the future clinical product development. PCT patent application filed to protect the associated IP.


None so far


Une start-up lausannoise développe l'endoscope de demain, Le Temps, 11. Mai 2012


Am Projekt beteiligte Personen

Letzte Aktualisierung dieser Projektdarstellung  17.10.2018