Skip to content

How CHARM seeks to transform cancer diagnosis

We interview CHARM coordinator Dr. Matteo Negro about his vision and aim for the project

Cancer cases are rising worldwide, meaning we need effective tools to diagnose and treat cancer now more than ever.

Projects like CHARM have the potential to address this need. EU-funded and launched in late 2022, CHARM seeks to develop a medical device based on high-speed, low-cost Raman digital imaging technology that will enable pathologists to analyse tissue samples using light, without the need for labeling or chemical staining.

“We believe CHARM will revolutionise cancer diagnosis.”

Dr. Matteo Negro, CHARM coordinator

Tumour diagnosis is presently subjective and elaborate, and the time required to perform accurate tissue diagnosis can delay the beginning of treatment.

CHARM coordinator Dr. Matteo Negro – who is also Chief Executive and Chief Technology Officer of Cambridge Raman Imaging – explains more about CHARM’s innovative work in the video below:

Written by Rosalind Moran from Cambridge Graphene Centre




I’m Matteo Negro, Chief executive and chief technology officer of Cambridge Raman Imaging, and I’m the coordinator of the EIC Transition Project CHARM.

Cambridge Raman Imaging, also called CRI, was born as a spin-out of the University of Cambridge and Politecnico di Milano, and has a mission to develop innovative label-free technologies for chemometric imaging of cells and tissues.

Challenges to cancer diagnosis

We believe that CHARM will revolutionize cancer diagnosis, which is currently suffering from the enormous increase of cancer cases worldwide, and the concurrent reduction of clinical histopathologists.

On top of this, tumour diagnosis is subjective and time-consuming, since it relies on tissue morphology observation, which is prone to a highly variable preparation process–for example, the staining–limiting the applicability of diagnostic artificial intelligence.

Finally, an enormous amount of time is spent by pathologists on unnecessary tasks like the evaluation of clear negative probes, which are typically 80% of the screened slides.

How CHARM might help

With CHARM, we aim to offer a solution to all of these issues by providing chemically rich images of the unstained tissues still familiar to pathologists and objectively assessing the presence, classification and grading of tumours and clearing out clear negative probes with close to 100% accuracy.

Innovative technological solutions

Our technology is based on the exploitation of coherent Raman imaging, which we are making viable for clinical application through innovative technological solutions, including a laser, microscopy detection, and artificial intelligence module.

In the CHARM framework, CRI will develop a new medical device capable of providing digital images of unstained tissue biopsies with a resolution beyond the cellular level. Furthermore, each image pixel contains a complete Raman spectrum, giving access to an extensive range of molecular information.

Artificial intelligence based reporting

Thanks to this information, an AI-based Clinical Decision Support System will provide pathologists with a detailed clinical report, including information on the tumour’s presence, classification, and staging. Thus dramatically improving the diagnostic capabilities.

More than a coordinator

Besides the coordination role, CRI is responsible for the full design and development process of the device and will put in place all the activities that will lead to the exploitation and commercialization of the product.