A revolutionary microscope to identify tumors

The innovative project VIBRA by the Politecnico di Milano

The VIBRA “Very fast Imaging by Broadband coherent Raman” project. Financed by the European Community’s European Research Council, the project lasted for 5 years and it has brought about the development of a new optical microscope, revolutionary in the biological and biomedical fields.

“At the moment, identification of tumors and other illnesses is mainly based on the subjective judgment of a pathologist who visually inspects tissue under a microscope. Our optical microscope, based on the coherent Raman spectroscopy, is able to rapidly display the chemical contents of a sample to identify diseased cells in human biopsies – an accurate, reliable and non-invasive tool that can guide the surgeon in real time”, says Dario Polli, Professor of Physics at Politecnico di Milano and scientific director of the project.

By using sophisticated laser techniques, it is possible to map the concentration of the various constituents of matter and create detailed three-dimensional maps of cells and tissues.

Dario Polli: “The results achieved will have a huge impact on biology and medicine: they will make it possible in future to display the properties of organic samples with great biochemical specificity, both in terms of the study of cellular mechanisms at the base of various pathologies and automatic identification of tumors in biopsies, with a better degree of accuracy and reproducibility than we are able to attain today”.