MIRACLE: Mid-infrared arthroscopy innovative imaging system for real-time clinical in depth examination and diagnosis of degenerative joint diseases

MIRACLE will push towards commercialisation the first mid-infrared (MIR) arthroscopy probe for in-depth evaluation of articular cartilage enabling early diagnosis of degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis (OA). The proposed device is intended for use during arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgery. Currently, the surgeon’s decision-making is based on visual inspection and manual probing of the cartilage tissue which is highly subjective and of poor repeatability. MIRACLE concept is to assess changes to the biochemical composition of articular cartilage, which precede OA. This will be achieved combining three novel photonics components: (i) a quantum cascade laser array tailored to biodiagnostics, (ii) an on-chip beam combiner for efficient radiation coupling, and (iii) a MIR sensing probe for imaging. These components will be integrated in a medical device to be placed in the arthroscopy market. In addition, to add value to the European medical equipment industry, MIRACLE strives towards cost reduction of OA patients contributing to more affordable public healthcare and promoting well-being in the European ageing population.

 art photonics‘ role in joint work will be to develop and provide flexible IR-fibers for quantum cascade lasers (QCL) coupling with the distal end of arthroscopic probe.

The unique polycrystalline fiber technology for 4-16µm range and unique design of ATR-diamond tip will enable efficient and flexible coupling of QCL with detector. This worldwide first prototype of IR-fiber spectral sensor will open the first opportunity to see molecular changes in cartilage composition in-vivo, to link them with its specific decease and find the best way of the related treatment for a fast cartilage recovery.

This project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No 780598. The project is an initiative of the Photonics Public Private Partnership.

Project website:

http://miracleproject.eu/

Please, see the promotional video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnF-XktF9nY