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A new technology for quantification and characterization of extracellular vesicles in complex clinical samples (LS-EVQuant)

Project summary

Body fluids like blood and urine contain small vesicles that are secreted by tumor cells. These vesicles and the markers on their surface have a high potential to indicate the presence of cancer, without the need to extract tissue samples from the patient. However, the current technology to analyze these vesicles in complex body fluids is not sufficiently developed. Therefore, vesicle researchers of the Erasmus MC together with optical technology experts of Dispertech B.V., will develop methods and a dedicated microscope to enable fast and sensitive analysis of these vesicles and their disease markers in blood and urine.

Minimally invasive analysis of these vesicles and their disease markers, will lead to earlier detection of disease, a better individual risk-estimation, better treatment options and potentially personalized treatment. As each year 20,000 people are being diagnosed with a urogenital tumour, leading to an estimated total cost of 1 billion euro in the Netherlands alone, there is much to gain from a patient’s and economic point of view.

By developing dedicated vesicle sample processing methods to isolate vesicles from complex clinical blood and urine samples and the fluorescent labelling of vesicles with their disease related surface markers, we will visualize and analyse individual vesicles in an innovative vesicle assay using a dedicated light-sheet microscope. Presence of combinations of tumour biomarkers will indicate the presence of prostate or bladder cancer.

The developed methods to isolate and fluorescently label vesicles and their surface markers together with the newly developed dedicated vesicle microscope will be tested in a proof-of-concept study on clinical blood and urine samples of patients with prostate and bladder cancer that were previously collected by our biobank.


technology and device, will lead to a complete assay for analysis of individual EVs in clinical samples for scientific research and potentially clinical implementation.

More detailed information

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Martin E. van Royen

Role Erasmus MC:




Project website:

Funding Agency: