The idea

Why is the HORAO Project called as it is called?

The term HORAO is a verb from the Greek (orao). It has many inherent meanings, which symbolize the complexity of the project: On the one hand, HORAO means to see something with your eyes, on the other hand, it also means to see something with your mind.

This visual performance is based on experience. As a human being needs experience to see, surgeons need a stronger microscope to see tumor borders. Otherwise, the surgeon with his 'mind' cannot see the boundaries and safely remove the tumor.


The HORAO project asks the most brilliant scientists/minds to develop new technologies that help visualize the exact border between Tumor tissue and the healthy brain during brain tumor surgery.

Help us develop the next generation technologies to make brain surgery safer!

Surgery is the crucial treatment step for most patients with brain tumors. A clear identification of the fine border between the tumor and the surrounding brain is essential in order to radically resect the tumor and to preserve neurological function. However, while easy to identify in preoperative MRI, solid tumor tissue is often difficult to differentiate from infiltrated white matter during surgery.

What we need

The goal of the HORAO project is to improve delineation of brain tumors during surgery. Instead of focusing on the difficult to detect tumor itself, we focus on identifying healthy white matter by means of its tracts. The brains entire white matter is made up of fiber tracts that comprise bundles of axons. This high degree of structure within the healthy white matter differs strongly from brain tumor tissue, whose cells grow in a largerly chaotic way. However, this difference in structural complexity or entropy is currently not detectable during surgery with white light operative microscope. The ability to easily identify white matter fiber tracts in real time during surgery would improve delineation of tumors from the surrounding brain, which would increase the likelihood of removing the complete lesion and decrease the risks of harming the surrounding brain tissue. In addition, visualization of fiber tracts leads to better localization and orientation during surgery.

Why we need your support

Brain tumor science has yet failed to deliver the required technology. But we are convinced that someone already has the solution at hand or in his or her mind. Therefore, we need to raise the awareness for this urgent problem!

Help us launch a global prize-based crowd competition

The HORAO project asks the most brilliant minds and scientists to develop new technologies that will help visualize the exact border between the tumor and the healthy brain tissue during brain tumor surgery. Help us motivate them and give HORAO a boost!

You will be rewarded

We want to thank you for your efforts in fighting brain tumors, and prepared great presents for you, including the possibility to accompany the team of neurosurgeons at the Inselspital, Bern University Hospital for a day.