Press Releases

Shedding light on cancer metabolism in real-time with bioluminescence

EPFL scientists have invented a new way to quantify — in real-time — glucose metabolism of cancerous tumors by making them bioluminesce. This new light probe is not radioactive and works on living organisms such as mice that carry the tumor cells. The technique requires tagged tumor cells, two jabs and a camera. The results are published in Nature Methods.

ScienceDaily, May 20, 2019

Shedding light on cancer metabolism in real-time with bioluminescence

Cancerous tumors can be made to bioluminesce, like fireflies, according to the level of their glucose uptake, giving rise to a technique for quantifying metabolite absorption.

The firefly imaging technique for sugar can be translated from cancer to many other metabolic diseases.

Mediacom News, 22nd of May 2019


Reagents track glucose uptake

Bioluminescence method has advantages over PET imaging

Chemical & Engineering News, May 18, 2019


A Conversation with Elena Goun

Elena Goun, a chemist on the faculty of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne and her lab are using bioluminescence to measure glucose uptake in vivo.

Springer Nature, May 16, 2019


The Author File

Elena Goun

Bioluminescence lights her way to measure glucose uptake in vivo, and why a chemist travels outside her comfort zone.

Nature Methods,


EPFL and NEVA Foundation team up research diabetes

Funded through a generous grant from the Neva Foundation, a new Chair in Bioorganic Chemistry and Molecular Imaging and an extensive exchange program for Russian students and faculty has been created at EPFL.

Press release EPFL