MDPP supported University of Adelaide researchers to bring a new cancer-detecting probe to clinical trial.

The device – an optical fibre probe - identifies cancerous tissue in real time by measuring pH levels of tissue, assisting surgeons to precisely remove cancerous tissue while sparing the healthy tissue surrounding it. 

Dr Erik Schartner and Professor Mark Hutchinson, who developed the concept, came to MDPP after conducting extensive lab based testing, “We were missing a prototype to demonstrate how the probe would function in an operating theatre. That is where the MDPP came in and we were very happy with their work.”


The new technology improves the clinical outcomes for cancer patients who require surgery, with current practice relying on lab testing of the tissue after surgery. The device is also expected to improve aesthetic outcomes and significantly reduce the need for revision surgeries.

This project leveraged the engineering, clinical and business expertise of the MDPP at the crucial moment in the product’s development. University of Adelaide Professor and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics Mark Hutchinson said the project was truly multidisciplinary and had, “drawn in physicists, doctors, mathematicians, biomedical engineers and more”.

The prototype developed through the MDPP enabled Erik and Mark to attract $80k for further product development.