Humanitas has joined NewMed, a collaborative project uniting Politecnico di Milano, Optec Bright Solutions and 3rdPlace, which is part of the Call Hub Research and Innovation program of the Lombardy Region.

NewMed’s goal is to develop new technologies to improve citizens’ health, namely Raman microscopes for tissue analysis in tumors, fluorescence imaging methods for diagnostics and precision surgery, and nanovectors for the controlled delivery of drugs into the heart.

Raman microscopes for tissue analysis in tumors

Raman microscopy investigates the molecular composition of a tissue to reveal the presence of markers that characterize the nature of the tumor. The goal is to develop a Raman microscopy technique that would allow fast analysis of tissue sections, in order to obtain benefits in those situations where the time factor is important, for example during surgery. The role of Humanitas will consist, in principle, in the use of this new technology for the analysis of gastrointestinal tumors, with the aim of differentiating tumor tissue from healthy tissue.

Fluorescent imaging techniques

Fluorescent imaging is used in diagnosis and precision surgery and employs markers that can be safely administered to humans. These markers can reveal functional state of the tissues involved in surgery.

Nanovectors for the controlled delivery of drugs into the heart

These nanovectors are nanoparticles, traceable during diagnostics, that release the drug selectively into the affected tissue. NewMed’s goal is to develop innovative nanomaterials with high efficiency and selectivity for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Humanitas researchers, for example, will study the use of innovative nanomaterials capable of delivering drugs in the myocardium that can correct genetic factors related to heart failure.

In general, Humanitas researchers will study and optimize the functioning of the nanoparticles of different types (in terms of shape, size and surface properties), designed and synthesized in the laboratories of the Politecnico di Milano. To achieve this optimization, Humanitas will rely on microfluidic systems, i.e. systems that allow the manipulation and transport of very small quantities of liquid to simulate the interaction of nanoparticles with the blood flow at the capillary level. Thanks to these systems, it will be possible to directly view and quantify the effect of the flow of these particles on the protein crown and, therefore, measure their drug release capacity.

Artificial intelligence will play a fundamental role in processing the enormous amount of data and information collected.