A and B: Classical white light reflection (top) versus fluorescence endoscopy images (bottom) in bladder (A) and bronchi (B).  C: Chicken embryo model (top) and studied vasculature (bottom).  D: Intravital microscopy model in the nude mouse (top) and related vasculature with fluorescing drug delivery (bottom)



The focus of the Medical Photonics Group at EPFL is on detecting and treating disease with the help of light. This is translational research and goes from the basic ideas to clinical tests, and in some cases introduction into the market. Our projects involve close collaboration between academic, clinical and industrial partners.


Among others we have contributed significantly to the development of several drugs approved by the US FDA and the European medical authorities, such as VisudyneTM for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) - with QLT and Novartis, and HexvixTM (Cysview) for the detection and removal of early stage bladder cancer (image A) – with Photocure and GE-Healthcare. We also developed an autofluorescence bronchoscope, DAFETM, for the detection of early lung cancer with Wolf GmbH (image B).

At present we are working on the optimization of drug mixtures using a stochastic method with an in vitro feedback loop. We are also developing several novel methods for drug delivery. The latter include a photodynamic leakage approach, which will soon enter clinical trials, and an approach with enzyme-activated nanoparticles, which is based on disease enhanced enzyme activity. Our preclinical tests are done in part on the chicken chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) model (image C) and using intravital microscopy on the nude mouse (image D).