OPTOMICS: Digital twin technology for type-2 diabetes healthcare

A new FET/EIC Pathfinder project recently started aiming at developing an innovative, non invasive and less expensive treatment for type-2 diabetes

The EU funded project OPTOMICS – Combining optoacoustic imaging phenotypes and multi-omics to advance diabetes healthcare – kicked-off in February at its inaugural meeting. The project was selected from the FET Proactive Emerging Paradigms and Communities Subtopic C call (FETPROACT-EIC-07-2020) and it  is a 60-month project.


The aim of OPTOMICS is to develop and validate a digital-twin model, which will generate non-invasive and inexpensive prognostic and treatment planning methods for type-2 diabetes patients.


With type-2 diabetes affecting more than 420 million people worldwide and its incidence increasing rapidly, there is more than ever a clear need for early detection and intervention solutions. OPTOMICS proposes an innovative approach to satisfy this need, by harnessing Artificial Intelligence and statistical methods combined with state-of-the-art multi-omics and optoacoustic imaging technology to model static and dynamic processes in type-2 diabetes evolution. This so-called digital-twin model aims to improve prediction and early detection of individuals likely to develop the disease, improving overall possibilities for prevention. Simultaneously, the method will reveal potential risks for developing disease complications, all while personalizing treatment.


OPTOMICS’ digital twin model will combine known molecular biomarkers with a novel non-invasive imaging phenotyping technology called Raster Scan Optoacoustic Mesoscopy (RSOM), which was developed by consortium partners, the Technical University of Munich and Helmholtz Zentrum München. RSOM will identify diabetes-related biomarkers by optically imaging the skin with high detail and precision, which will then be integrated with in-depth molecular phenotyping of individuals at the DNA, protein and metabolite level.


Project Coordinator, Prof. Dr. Vasilis Ntziachristos, states he is “thrilled to collaborate with key European partners at the forefront of metabolomics, genomic analytics, and technology advances on this monumental project, which may lead to long-term improvements in diabetes management and healthcare.


OPTOMICS brings together experts across disciplines from biology and multi–omics to biotechnology, and includes teams located in Germany, Estonia, Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom.


Background information

FET-Open and FET Proactive are now part of the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot (specifically the Pathfinder), the new home for deep-tech research and innovation in Horizon 2020, the EU funding programme for research and innovation

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash