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April 5 2024

NWO funding for VU's DoPredict Project led by VU professor

On March 26, 2024, the DoPredict research project, led by Professor of Biophotonics and Medical Imaging Marloes Groot at Vrije Universiteit (VU), received funding through the NWO's Open Technology Program. This project focuses on developing a system for quickly and easily predicting the outcomes of lung treatments by testing combinations of drugs on a small piece of patient tissue.

The DoPredict project aims to develop an innovative system to predict responses to lung treatments. This system, devised by the team of Marloes Groot from the VU-LaserLab, along with Jan Willem Duitman (Pulmonology, Amsterdam UMC) and Francesco Ciompi (Pathology, Radboud UMC), will test combinations of drugs on a biopsy from the patient. Personalized treatments, dependent on predictive biomarkers, are often hindered by over- and undertreatment of patients because current biomarkers do not account for the phenotype of a tumor. This project aims to address this issue by using advanced microscopic techniques and artificial intelligence for analyzing tissue samples in 3D.

The innovative technique, higher harmonic generation (HHG), developed by Groot’s team, enables the analysis of biopsies in minutes, making cells, nuclei, and connective tissue visible in 3D. This provides a rapid feedback capability during surgeries or endoscopic procedures. Moreover, the project will focus on using HHG microscopy to track tissue in 3D over the culture period, resulting in 4D data. AI-based analysis methods will be developed to analyze these images, measure treatment responses, and validate the predictive power of these analyses.

This project has the potential to significantly impact healthcare by reducing overtreatment and identifying the best treatment for lung patients within a week of diagnosis. This will not only improve patient care but also reduce healthcare costs.