The overall goal of StretchBio is the design, development, fabrication and proof of application of an advanced compact nanosystem for the continuous label-free ex vivo monitoring and fast quantification of two-dimensional mechanical stresses induced by fresh tumour samples upon their treatment with drugs aiming to rescue normal tissue elasticity. The proposed approach will be a huge step forward both in the development of personalized medicine, as well as in the study of tissue growth as it occurs during development, with applications in cancer and regenerative biomedicine, and represents also an improvement in the development and application of bio-nanosystems.

The StretchBio project defines the following objectives:

1. To develop the theoretical and technical basis for the StretchBio concept:

1.1 designing photonic devices formed by arrays of nanopillars, containing one or more narrower nanopillars, and simulating the light transmission variations upon the mechanical deflection of the narrower nanopillars

1.2 fabricating the photonic devices and measuring the light transmission through them upon mechanical deflection, providing two-dimensional force distribution maps, which will constitute a force nanosensor

1.3 developing the theoretical background of the interaction between the nanopillar arrays and the ex vivo tissues

1.4 developing a compact optical excitation and readout system for the nanosensor

2. To validate the two-dimensional stress measurements in cancer-relevant tissue samples with dimensions compatible with core needle biopsies:

2.1 ex-vivo monitoring of two-dimensional stress distribution in genetically engineered tumour models in Drosophila melanogaster

2.2 ex-vivo monitoring drug impact on 3D cultures

2.3 ex-vivo monitoring of two-dimensional stress distribution in precision-cut fresh tumour samples from cancer patients and the impact of anti-cancer drugs on these stresses

2.4 developing a compact nanosystem for use in personalized medicine in clinical settings