Raman spectroscopy for early diagnosis of oral pre-cancer and cancer using minimally invasive samples (RAMAN-Dx)

Dr Amuthachelvi Daniel, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow
2018-08-01 to 2020-07-31


In 2012, there were an estimated 529,500 cases of lip, oral cavity and pharyngeal cancers and the incidence has been predicted to rise to 856,000 cases by 2035 due to changing demographics. The 5 year survival rate for oral cancer for Europe is only 50% and patients often present with advanced disease. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to diagnose the disease early. Diagnosis of oral precancer and cancer starts with conventional oral examination by the clinician followed by biopsy and histopathology. This is regarded as the gold standard but is subjective and the sensitivity and specificity can be poor at the early stages of the disease. Hence, there is a significant need for new diagnostic techniques to detect pre-malignant lesions.
The overall objective of this project was to develop new methods based on Raman spectroscopy for probing biochemical changes associated with oral pre-cancer and its progression. During the project, a comprehensive time-gated Raman spectral library containing high-quality Raman spectra measured from oral samples from patients and normal subjects was established. Furthermore, a SERS spectral library of salivary samples was developed.

In addition to training through research, the MSCA fellow was trained in transferable skills such as project management, communication skills, networking, ethics, gender equality and IPR management.

Intersectoral transfer of knowledge was provided through a secondment at VTT Technical Research Centre, Finland. This allowed the researcher to experience working in a non-academic environment which has been very beneficial for her career development. At the end of the secondment, the researcher was offered a permanent Senior Application Specialist position at Timegate Instruments Oy, which is a spin-off of VTT.

More information on the project is available at the CORDIS site:


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 796815