The Laser and Ultrasound Co-Analyzer for Thyroid Nodules (LUCA) project aims to tackle 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 a multi-modal ultrasound system and a probe that enables multimodal data acquisition for the screening of thyroid nodules for thyroid cancer.

Thyroid nodules are a common pathology having a prevalence of palpable nodules of around 5% in women and 1% in men, which increases to 19-76% with the use of neck ultrasound. To exclude thyroid cancer when screening thyroid nodules, which occurs in 5-15% of thyroid nodules, the first step is ultrasound followed by fine-needle aspiration biopsy of suspicious nodules. In thyroid cancer, the sensitivity and specificity of this process are limited, with a large number of non-diagnostic and false positive results that lead to unnecessary surgery. A reduction in the number of surgical procedures with a point-of-care diagnostic procedure would have an important socio-economic impact, diminishing the number of thyroidectomies and the associated comorbidities. This implies savings of millions of euro per year.

LUCA brings together eight partner organisations from five different European countries. It is a multidisciplinary project with clinical endocrinologists, radiologists (both end-users), physicists, engineers and industry joining forces.

EIBIR will support the coordinator with project management and will lead the project’s dissemination work package.

Facts and figures

Coordinator: The Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO)
Number of Partners: 8
Start Date: February 1, 2016
End Date: July 31, 2020
Total Funding:€3,628,845.75

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 688303 and is an initiative of the Photonics Public Private Partnership