Lublin and Wrocław firms win Innovation Radar awards for their work on breast cancer

Lublin-based SDS Optic won the ‘Women-Led Innovation’ category for their innovations in endoscopic and cancer fighting technologies. SDS Optic

Two Polish firms have taken first place at the European’s Commission’s 2020 Innovation Radar.

Lublin-based SDS Optic won the ‘Women-Led Innovation’ category for their innovations in endoscopic and cancer fighting technologies.

Dr. Magdalena Staniszewska, who worked for Harvard University, co-founded SDS Optic with her husband Marcin Staniszewski, who previously did research for NASA.InProbe

Currently 9 million people a year die of cancer, with that number expected to double within the next 20 years. The company’s stated goal is that: “The inProbe device will allow for quick and reliable diagnosis to save 30 percent more lives by 2030.”

The OmniProbe allows for 100 percent confirmed diagnosis without the need for a biopsy. Currently if breast cancer is suspected often patients will undergo a biopsy then be required to wait days, if not weeks, for their results to come back increasing patient anxiety and delaying potentially lifesaving treatments.

SDS Optic’s solution mergers fibre optics, molecular biology, chemistry, biomedical engineering into a single needle that not only gives instantaneous information but allows for delivery of medicine directly to the tumour.SDS Optic

SDS Optic’s solution mergers fibre optics, molecular biology, chemistry, biomedical engineering into a single needle that not only gives instantaneous information but allows for delivery of medicine directly to the tumour.

Dr. Magdalena Staniszewska, who worked for Harvard University, co-founded the company with her husband Marcin Staniszewski, who previously did research for NASA.

SDS Optic’s research team consists of a dozen or so talented scientists, most of which are women.SDS Optic

Dr. Staniszewska said: “At the time when we were planning to return, there were opportunities in Poland related to financing high-cost and risky research and development projects, which had not existed before.

“As we both come from Poland we also wanted the project to be identified with our country. Now, in Poland, we not only have a lot of opportunities but also great scientists.

The European Commission's Innovation Radar is about finding excellence across all EU funded research with over 2,000 projects receiving investment from Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme.European Commission

“Our team consists of recognized experts in the field of biology, medicine, advanced technologies and related sciences. The research team working in the laboratories of our research centre consists of a dozen or so talented scientists, most of them are women. Our company supports young talent and enables their further development.”

The SDS Optic team have already begun phase 2 of clinical trials and expect to commercialize the technology in the next few years.


A team led by Dr. Joanna Bauer and Dr. Nanasaheb Thorat from Wrocław University of Science and Technology won the overall prize for their project using nanotechnology to combat breast cancer known as NANOCARGO.

Dr. Bauer said: “Currently breast cancer treatment usually involves either a full (mastectomy) or partial (lumpectomy) removal of the breast tissue but the innovation from the NANOCARGO team means that the cancer cells will be destroyed  in the body with no need for surgery.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “We will use Innovation Radar across all research areas to identify EU-funded innovations with market potential and steer them towards support for getting to market, that will be offered by the EIC and the new Digital Europe Programme.Andrzej Grygiel/PAP

“The multifunctional hybrid nanocarriers used in the treatment increase the visibility of cancer in when tomographic images are taken as well as delivering a drug release inside the tumour, controlling both the timing and dosage depending on the needs of the patient.”

Innovation Radar is a European Commission initiative, which identifies innovations with high-potential that have been funded via the EU. Twelve of the best EU-funded innovators were shortlisted for the Innovation Radar Prize 2020.  

A team led by Dr. Joanna Bauer (pictured) from Wrocław University of Science and Technology won the overall prize for their project using nanotechnology to combat breast cancer known as NANOCARGO.Wrocław University of Science and Technology

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “We will use Innovation Radar across all research areas to identify EU-funded innovations with market potential and steer them towards support for getting to market, that will be offered by the EIC and the new Digital Europe Programme.

“We will continue to champion such excellence and make it easier to discover this excellence through the public-facing Innovation Radar platform, enhancements of which will be launched in the coming months.”