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The first medical device that monitors your immune system non-invasively

In Leuko Labs, we identified a crucial medical need: to avoid the serious infections that frequently occur in cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. Indeed, white-blood-cell levels can drastically and unexpectedly decrease in chemotherapy patients, which causes substantial risks of infections: 20% of these patients will catch an infection during their treatment, which requires 8-to-9-day hospitalizations costing 20.000€ per case. If critically low white-blood-cell levels could be detected in time, infection episodes could be avoided via the administration of prophylactic antibiotics. With current technology, however, the practical frequency of monitoring is severely limited because the measurement of white-blood-cell requires blood draws performed by medical personnel. In Leuko Labs, we addressed this issue by developing a new device that can detect low levels of white blood cells non-invasively, thus enabling patients and oncologists to access critical information and make the best decisions.

Technology Solution

We devised a portable microscope prototype that acquires videos of capillary blood flow through the skin of patients in the finger nail-fold area.

In these videos, transparent particles that flow through the capillaries can be observed, tracked, and analyzed through proprietary software, which allows to obtain an estimate of the white-blood-cell level in a human subject.

Our prototype has been tested on 45 chemotherapy patients. It yielded promising results for the identification of patients with severely low white-blood-cell levels.

“This device–which has already been tested in 45 patients–will be able to quickly measure your white-blood-cell levels from home without requiring a single drop of your blood”

Market demands


  • Measurements done remotely from home would circumvent lenghty trips to the hospital, prevent hospitalizations due to infections, and reduce the costs and time required from nurses and clinicians.
  • The overall quality of life, well-being, and prognosis of chemotherapy patients could be improved, thus implying an added value for patients and clinicians.

Healthcare system / Insurance companies

  • Healthcare insurance companies seek to minimize adverse events occurring in the treatment of their clients. Substantially reducing hospitalization and other costs associated with infections would be seen as a substantial gain from their perspective.  


  • Several drugs that are used to treat various types of diseases (e.g., psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, etc.) can cause immunosuppression as a side effect
  • A companion diagnostic device that can regularly monitor white-blood-cell levels would enable such drugs to be administered with increased safety.
Market potential


In Europe, 1.5 million patients start a chemotherapy treatment each year. Assuming a 50€ cost per daily measurement and average chemotherapies of 16 weeks, the total available market amounts to 1.2 billion euros.

Healthcare system/Insurance companies

Hospitalizations due to infections amount to 20.000€. Approx. 250.000 patients per year are hospitalized due to an infection, resulting in a burden of 5 billion euros per year to the European healthcare system. 


Currently, only 1/3 of chemotherapy patients are administered colony-stimulating factors. Our device will allow to identify patients at risk in a personalized manner, thus increasing these drugs’ market share (e.g., Neulasta, Amgen) to the whole patient population.

Competitive advantages

  • Non-invasive system that does not require any blood draws or samples, reagents, or specific sanitary conditions to perform measurements
  • Only one minute of the patient’s time is needed to acquire the data required for analysis with our device
  • Our device could be used at home thanks to its portability and non-invasiveness; it thus avoids trips to the hospital and improves the patient’s quality of life
  • Our device is able to monitor white-blood-cell levels with increased frequency, thus enabling every patient to be followed and treated in a personalized manner

 “Improving the quality of life through this device would constitute a substantial added value both for clinicians and patients”


  • Technology jointly developed at UPM and MIT
  • Clinical studies performed at Hospital La Paz (Madrid) and at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston)
  • Multidisciplinary team advised by leading experts
  • Project founded by Madrid-MIT M+Vision Consortium, Coulter Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Deshpande Center, and MIT Sandbox Innovation Fund

  • Patent applied in USA and Europe [14/951,260]
  • Provisional patent application in USA [No. 18366K]
Development stage

  • Concept
  • R & D
  • Lab Prototype
  • Industrial Prototype
  • Production

Leuko Labs Contact

Carlos Castro Gonzalez; e:

Aurélien Bourquard;


UPM contact

Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship Area

Centre of Support for Technological Innovation – UPM