Bladder cancer can be categorized in non-muscle-invasive (up to stage I) and muscle-invasive (stage II and beyond). These distinct types of bladder cancer have to be treated in different ways: in stage I a transurethal resection of the bladder tumor (TURBT) might be sufficient while in high stages the entire bladder may need to be removed. Therefore, it is important to develop diagnostic techniques to classify the bladder cancer growth to determine the most suitable treatment plan for patients with a bladder tumour.
In the Next-gen in-vivo project robotic systems and software tools are being developed for scanning ex-vivo and in-vivo bladders, visualization and assessment of muscle invasiveness of tumors. The images made by a miniature camera attached to a miniature robot end-effector can be used to create a 3D reconstruction of the bladder, while optical coherence tomography (OCT) sensing technology will be used to analyse the different layers in the bladder wall (urothelium, lamina propria and muscularis propria) whereafter localisation and categorization of the bladder tumour can be done.
A realistic phantom would be of great use for ex-vivo experiments. Until recently, simplistic cardboard phantoms were being used. A former BSc student also constructed simplistic phantoms made of silicone rubber or PVC plastisol. There is a need to create more realistic phantoms which better represent the human bladder in specific aspects such as texture, deformability, anatomy, OCT sensing features etc.
For this BSc assignment at RaM the central topic is to develop and evaluate materials that can be used for a bladder phantom in which the layers can be analysed with OCT. A short literary study will be performed to investigate what materials and techniques are possible and a list of requirements will be made. Followed by small-scale experiments to make different test pieces to be analysed with OCT and that can be used for a bladder phantom. Next to the relevant imaging techniques for evaluation, involving OCT and the miniature camera, other techniques as MRI, ultrasound, CT, etc can be considered if needed.