Acronym: EDIT
Project Number: 801126
Starting Date: October 2018
Project Duration: 48 Months
Budget: € 4,317,160

Dr. Massimo Alfano

Ospedale San Raffaele



Dr. Pnina Dan

Novel precision technological platforms to promote non-invasive early diagnosis, eradication and prevention of cancer relapse: proof of concept in the bladder carcinoma

Despite years of awareness, as of today, there is no screening program for the early detection of bladder cancer (BCa). The unmet clinical needs in the management of BCa are the prevention of tumor onset, relapse and progression, and therapy of the aggressive bladder carcinoma in situ (Cis), requiring frequent and endless follow-up and weekly treatments, with a consequent poor quality of  life   and the  highest   cost   per patient among all cancers. Therefore public health programs crave for early BCa detection protocols, to improve performance in the management of this devastating disease. 

EDIT will develop advanced transformative technology combining newly developed targeted imaging technologies (high-resolution ultrasound elastography and photoacoustic imaging) on the bladder using plasmonic gold sensors for enhanced resolution.

Structural and mechanical modification of the collagen rich extracellular matrix is a common denominator for invasive breast, colorectal, prostate and bladder cancers.
The EDIT platforms will also pave the ways for the earlier management of other bladder-related pathologies and solid tumors, with a profound impact on the quality of life and well-being of millions


The EDIT approach exploits the structural and mechanical properties of the bladder extracellular matrix (ECM) as a unique biomarker of the early onset/progression/relapse of carcinoma, through engineered novel gold nanorods (GNRs) used as intravesical photoacoustic antennas targeted at the ECM within the cellular microenvironments and consequently generating an ad hoc visualization platform. GNRs will be further utilized as heat-releasing effectors at nanoscale for targeted cancer photo-thermal therapy.

EDIT is designed to detect pre-neoplastic area and eradication of local areas at few cells resolution with high sensitivity and specificity.

EDIT Outcomes will revolutionize the management of BCa with the introduction of sensing and effector nanotechnologies combined with non-invasive organ imaging with high resolution/definition 3D ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging.



1. Early prognosis: The leading hypothesis that pre-conditioning of the extra cellular matrix (ECM) in the form of fibrillary collagen-rich matrix predisposes a soil needed for the onset/progression/relapse of bladder cancer.
Increased stiffness of ECM associates with progression of breast cancer and correlates with poor survival. EDIT will pursue an innovative application of specific effectors, provided by novel functionalized nanoparticles developed within the project, to be employed as intravesical source of ultrasound through photoacoustic effect.


2. Early eradication is envisaged by exploitation of the superior targeting properties of locally delivered nanoparticles able to thermal ablating Cis cells upon near-infrared laser irradiation, allowing to recognize and eradicate cluster of few neoplastic cells <1 mm.


3. Novel biomarkers will assess sub-aims, implementing i) characterization of markers that identify pre-conditioning of the ECM allowing the seed of cancer cells (onset, relapse and tumor progression), ii) novel targets for the identification of Cis cells (specific integrins and cellular markers), and iii) new ligands for expanding the armamentarium for targeted delivery of gold nanorods, increasing the opportunities for the “bench to bedside” translational approach of EDIT.

The concept of EDIT



Rome, Italy

Milan, Italy

Bologna, Italy

Rehovot, Israel

Milan, Italy

Rehovot, Israel

The University of Milan


The Weizmann Institute

of science

Ascend Technologies Ltd

FUJIFILM Sonosite BV (VisualSonics)

LIME Technology P.C.

Southampton, United Kingdom

Amsterdam, Netherland

Ioannina, Greece



The University of Bologna

Istituto di Fisiologia Clinica-Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche 

Ospedale San Raffaele

On the 25th -26th of October , 2019 the Kick of meeting of EDIT, took place at OSR, Milan. It was hosted by OSR. 44 persons from the 9 partners of the consortium participated at this meeting. All meeting goals were realized.

EDIT broshur-02.jpg

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EDIT at the 6 Months meeting
6-7 March 2019, Amsterdam Hosted by FUJIFILM Sonosite BV
Excellent experience of high science, networking and collaboration

Our partners at IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele are working with the Vevo LAZR-X (VisualSonics), exploring all the great advantages of this multimodal high frequency ultrasound and photoacoustics platform!

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Summer school - EDIT partners OSR and IFC-CNR participated to the “Photoacoustic summer school”, September 10-12, 2019, Amsterdam, Netherlands, organized by partner FFSS for European scientists.



Mirko Maturi, Erica Locatelli, Ilaria Monaco, Mauro Comes Franchini, Review Article, Current concepts in nanostructured contrast media development for in vivo photoacoustic imaging, Biomaterial Science, Issue 5, 2019,!divAbstract





Dr. Massimo Alfano


Dr. Pnina Dan