The Horizon 2020 project Laser and Ultrasound Co-analyzer for Thyroid Nodules (LUCA) aims to develop an innovative technology for thyroid cancer screening that will provide doctors with enhanced information required to provide better and more specific results in thyroid nodule screening and enable better diagnosis.
Thyroid cancer is a major and growing health challenge with around three hundred thousand new cases diagnosed worldwide annually. Current methods do not provide sufficient support to surgeons in their decision on the appropriate course of action, which leads to significant number of unnecessary surgeries and a reduced quality of life for patients. This calls for an increased sensitivity and specificity of the conventionally applied screening process.
LUCA tackles this need by producing a novel, point-of-care, low-cost device for the screening of thyroid nodules. The device will combine two photonics systems, near-infrared diffuse correlation spectroscopy and time-resolved spectroscopy, with a multi-modal ultrasound system and a probe that enables multimodal data acquisition for the screening of thyroid nodules for thyroid cancer. Once successful, LUCA will save millions of euros over the coming decades and improve the lives of millions of Europeans.
LUCA is a four-year project tackling the growing societal need for sustainable healthcare by producing a novel, point-of-care, low-cost device for the screening of thyroid nodules. The device will combine two photonics systems, near-infrared diffuse correlation spectroscopy and time-resolved spectroscopy, with an ultrasound system and a probe that enables multimodal data acquisition for the screening of thyroid nodules for thyroid cancer.
By combining the traditional multiparametric ultrasound imaging technique with a state-of-the-art photonic approach that obtains measurements of tissue hemodynamics and thyroid nodule composition with the use of light, the LUCA device will enhance the non-invasive characterization of the thyroid tissue, aiming to reduce the amount of uncertainty in the diagnosis of thyroid nodules.
The LUCA device has the potential to represent a very innovative tool for other types of cancer diagnosis, screening and therapy monitoring in areas of the body accessible to both ultrasound and near-infrared diffuse optical technologies. LUCA is therefore expected to have a significant impact on the field of thyroid cancer but also additional areas of cancer screening.
Delve into LUCA by watching our videos or take a look at our project presentation.
The LUCA consortium is a multidisciplinary team including clinical endocrinologists, radiologists, physicists, engineers and industry players. The project involves eight renowned organisations and industry partners from all over Europe. Find out more about our partners by clicking on the countries on the map and the partner logos on the right.
With the LUCA device, we will achieve a major leap in thyroid cancer screening and significantly improve patients' quality of life.
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Turgut Durduran is a professor at ICFO - Institute of Photonic Sciences and project coordinator of the LUCA project. He chairs the LUCA consortium and leads the project in scientific aspects.
Katharina Krischak is a project manager at the European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the LUCA project.
Núria Charles-Harris is a European projects manager at ICFO - Institute of Photonic Sciences and manages the contractual and financial matters for LUCA.