AIR3D will validate the business potential of the automatic 3D imaging reconstruction software developed within the EDIT FET project. Such software allows performing fast, non-invasive 3D visualization of several information on the bladder in real-time with user friendly interaction with the operator. It combines pre-clinical information from Ultra Sound (US) and Photoacoustic (PA) imaging towards the early diagnosis of bladder cancer and monitoring of cancer progress during therapy and follow-up. Ultrasound (US) and PA imaging are non-invasive non-ionizing technologies, but imaging reconstruction methods are still time-consuming (in particular for high-volume organ as bladder), being manual or semi-manual processes and requiring well trained people. Nowadays bladder cancer is the ninth most common malignancy globally, with an estimated 430.000 new diagnoses annually, while it has the highest lifetime treatment costs per patient of all cancers. The successful adoption of the software by the market will improve early diagnosis of cancer and better monitoring of the efficacy of ongoing therapies (more accurate and precise 3D images available immediately), as consequence the software will have both societal and economic impact, improving the quality of life of millions of people while reducing social costs and costs of care centres in image processing (no high-skilled personnel needed). During AIR3D, owners of the EDIT software (LIME and OSR) will be supported by and advisory company (META) to define the best exploitation model for the commercialisation of the software and validate it through the use of the Lean Start up approach. Interaction with relevant stakeholders are foreseen for the validation of the pre-commercial prototype (testing at early adopters’ premises), raise the interest of potential clients (presenting the prototype at international events) and raise funding for scale up and clinical development (pitching in front of investors).
Unmet clinical needs in the management of bladder cancer (BCa) are the prevention of tumor onset, relapse and progression, and therapy of the aggressive carcinoma in situ (Cis), requiring weekly treatments and endless follow-up, with a consequent poor quality of life and the highest cost per patient among all cancers. Therefore, public health programs crave for early BCa detection protocols, to improve performance in the management of this devastating disease. Here we propose an advanced transformative technology termed EDIT combining a novel high-resolution ultrasound elastography and photoacoustic imaging on the bladder instilled with targeted plasmonic gold sensors. EDIT approach exploits the structural and mechanical properties of the bladder extracellular matrix (ECM) as a unique biomarker of the early onset/progression/relapse of carcinoma, through engineered novel gold nanorods (GNRs) used as intravesical photoacoustic antennas targeted at the ECM, generating an ad hoc visualization platform. GNRs will be further utilized as heat-releasing effectors at nanoscale for targeted cancer photo-thermal therapy. EDIT is designed to detect pre-neoplastic area and eradication of local areas at few cells resolution with high sensitivity and specificity. We bring together a multi and transdisciplinary consortium capable to develop non-invasive and non-ionizing novel technology and preclinical validation for early prognosis of BCa and therapeutic nanomedicine against bladder Cis. Outcomes of EDIT will revolutionize the management of BCa with the introduction of sensing and effector nanotechnologies combined with non-invasive organ imaging with high resolution/definition by 3D ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging. Structural and mechanical modification of the ECM is a common denominator for invasive breast, colorectal, prostate and bladder cancers. EDIT platforms will also pave the ways for the earlier management of other bladder-related pathologies and solid tumors.