GlowTrack

In-vivo imaging device based on biophotonic implants

GlowTrack is an Academy of Finland-funded consortium project (decision 328077, 328078 and 328079) led by adjunct professor Mika Lastusaari (University of Turku), associate professor Laeticia Petit (Tampere University; see her group’s website) and associate professor Jonathan Massera (Tampere University; see his group’s website). The work commences in January 2020 and will continue until the end of 2022.

Implants can find multiple different applications in medicine, from in bone reconstruction to treatment of teeth sensitivity, just to cite a few examples. One important problem is their imaging post-operation as they appear radio-transparent in X-ray imaging. Recently, a new optical imaging technique was developed using persistent luminescence (PeL) nanoparticles. However, this technique presents major limitations: the nanoparticles need to be charged before injection and more importantly these particles are not biocompatible.

This consortium aims in developing clinically relevant implants which not only are bioactive but also emit PeL from red to near-infrared. The proposed novel implants, based on novel PeL particles, can then be charged through the skin to be imaged in-vivo allowing one to monitor in-vivo and over time the implant resorption without the use of X-rays.

The research project is multidisciplinary and it will be carried out in collaboration with the research groups of prof. John Ballato (Clemson University, Clemson SC, USA), prof. Dilshat Tulyaganov (Turin Polytechnic University, Tashkent, Uzbekistan) and assoc. prof. Susanna Miettinen (Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University). The project employs PhD student Sami Vuori (University of Turku, PeL material development and characterization) and 2 post doctoral researchers (Tampere University).

The GlowTrack group (from left to right): Mika Lastusaari, Agata Szczodra, Laeticia Petit, Alexander Veber, Sami Vuori, Jonathan Massera.