Intra-operative imaging in prostate and cervical cancer surgery using fluorescently-labelled nanobodies.

Project Details


Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in Belgium.
Invasive cervical cancer occurs less frequently, but remains a
common cancer in women. When diagnosed at early stage, standard curative treatment consists of the surgical removal of the whole prostate or uterus, as well as the surrounding affected tissue to prevent relapse of the cancer. However, during such complex surgeries it is often difficult for the surgeon to differentiate between cancerous and healthy tissues, which can lead to incomplete resections. Furthermore, nearby nerves can be damaged, resulting in complications such as incontinence and erectile disorders. The use
of fluorescence imaging, which could aid the surgeon to decide in real-time which tissues to resect and which to preserve, is expected to result in a more precise and complete surgery, with less post- operative complications.
Within this project and under the supervision of Prof. Hernot and Prof. Devoogdt (VUB), I aim to design novel fluorescent contrast agents, based on the nanobody-technology, to highlight specifically prostate and cervical tumor lesions as well as nerves. After complete in vitro characterization and in vivo investigation of the pharmacokinetic profile of the nanobodies, the feasibility and advantage of their use will be demonstrated during experimental surgery in mice and/or pigs. This step will be performed in collaboration with surgeons of the UZBrussel and with the faculty of Veterinary Medicine (Ghent University).
Effective start/end date1/11/1931/10/21


  • Fluorescence-guided surgery
  • Image-guided surgery

Flemish discipline codes

  • Drug discovery and development not elsewhere classified