DS04 - Vie, santé et bien-être

Multi-elemental analysis of lung diseases by laser spectroscopy – MEDI-LIBS

Submission summary

There is a major health problem due to the environmental and occupational related exposures to mineral particles, metals, and dust. The impact on health is considerable in terms of prevalence, morbidity and healthcare costs. Pathologists never report the presence of a possible metal-related etiology in a specimen by lack of available and convenient technology. Therefore, several respiratory diseases are considered idiopathic.
We postulate that elemental imaging with LIBS technology (Laser Induced-Breakdown Spectroscopy) represents a substantial help for the pathologists since it can indicate the presence of both endogenous and exogenous chemical elements within exposed tissues and could bring major improvements for the daily management of routine diagnosis. Our experience and preliminary experiments indicate that the pattern of chemical elements will help to uncover the etiology/causative agent, relating with environmental/occupational exposure.
The overall goal of this MEDI-LIBS project is to use a laser-spectroscopy imaging system in combination with standard histology to identify and localize metals within selected human samples. We will study and describe relevant pathological human lung tissues. A complementary work will also be conducted on animal tissues (after specific chemical exposures) and on normal human and animal lung tissues.
We have demonstrated our leadership in multi-elemental imaging of animal tissues and more recently in human samples of medical interest. That expertise puts our team in an excellent position to broaden the usefulness of LIBS imaging to medical applications, as a tool for pathologists to better diagnose environmental and occupational diseases. We have chosen to target idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, sarcoidosis and pneumoconiosis. The proposed technical improvements we have envisaged in this project will help us to improve the sensitivity and the resolution, and to work faster on almost any human tissue, i.e. frozen, paraffin- or epoxy-embedded samples.
The clinicians in our team will select the most relevant and annotated samples in the local/national research/health network biobanks. We will image the elements contained in those pathological samples of human origin, and compare the input of elemental imaging in complement to standard histology. We expect to bring major inputs in the daily diagnoses of occupational and environmental diseases, and to produce useful data about past- or present exposure to agents that would help clinicians to better understand the disease of a given patient, therefore reinforcing his clinical management.
One of the most important mid-term outcomes will be to create and patent a unique bio-LIBS system dedicated to human multi-elemental imaging to assist medical pathologists in their work, in particular for metal-related diseases (nephrology, neurology, hepatology). The first prototype would be hosted in the optical imaging preclinical platform in Grenoble University hospital. Ultimately, this work could lead to the creation of a start-up offering services in the elemental imaging of biological samples, and the commercialization of an all-in-one customizable bio-LIBS instrument for research or hospital laboratories. Our consortium with a translational focus is predominantly composed of highly motivated young researchers with expertise in basic and clinical research. The Bio-LIBS bench-top instrumentation is fully compatible with conventional optical microscopy used in pathology labs and with the vast majority of available human tissues stored in every biobank, worldwide.
The MEDI LIBS project is at the interface between physics, biology and medicine. The project is innovative, multidisciplinary and relies on disruptive technology for broad medical applications of general interest. MEDI-LIBS project is strongly aligned with the directions of the call ANR 2017 - DEFI 4 - AXE 11, and with the high priority “second pillar-approach” for Health related projects.

Project coordination

Benoit BUSSER (Institute for Advanced Biosciences (IAB) - CR UGA / Inserm U1209 /CNRS UMR5309 , Team : Cancer targets and experimental therapeutics)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


IAB - Inserm U1209 Institute for Advanced Biosciences (IAB) - CR UGA / Inserm U1209 /CNRS UMR5309 , Team : Cancer targets and experimental therapeutics
ILM Institut Lumière Matière - U5306
CHU Grenoble Alpes - Lyon CHU Grenoble Alpes - Lyon, Département médecine et santé au travail / Association Biologie et Cancer

Help of the ANR 443,359 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 36 Months

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