Piezoelectric Fingers Key in New Breast Cancer Detector
Researchers at Drexel University are developing a new portable, low-cost radiation detector free of breast cancer that can be used in the doctor’s office as first line for detecting breast cancer in younger women and in Women over 40 years with mammogram dense breast tissue. The detector is based on piezoelectric fingers (one sensor modulus and shear), developed at Drexel. Assessments of tumor samples has been previously identified a 3mm tumor achieved by mammography, ultrasound and palpation of the physician.
The researchers, Dr. Wan Y. Shih, a breast cancer survivor and associate professor at Drexel School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, Dr. Wei-Heng Shih, a professor of materials science and engineering from Drexel and Dr. Ari D . Brooks, Associate Professor of Surgery at the Faculty of Medicine, Drexel University, expect to develop a portable, radiation-free, breast scanning device that not only is able to locate small tumors of any kind, but also capable of predict tumor malignancy. The proposed evaluation tool is positioned as a tool for early detection of breast cancer to be used by physicians and gynecologists at the clinic in conjunction with physical examination. It also complements mammography in detecting breast cancer early in women with dense breast tissue. In countries like China and India, where mammography is readily available because of cost, PEF device can be used as a primary screening tool.
To date, the FDA only approved cancer early detection system in the U.S. cancer is starting mammography at age 40 for women. The effectiveness of this detection is reduced in women with dense breasts. A mammogram does not provide information about the rigidity or mobility of a tumor and has a typical sensitivity of 85 percent, decreasing to 65 percent in radio-dense breasts. Meanwhile, the data show that in 2005 alone more than 200,000 American women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,000 deaths were caused by the disease.
The device consists of a handheld probe PEF and small electrical measurement units can be operated by a laptop and, eventually, be a separate device. The elasticity measures PEF probe mobility tissues and breast are more rigid and less mobile than the surrounding tissues, and uses the elasticity and mobility of contrast to detect breast cancer.
The PEF sensor innovations are:
• Palpation as images of tissue stiffness both in court and under compression less than one millimeter spatial resolution to a depth of several inches.
• The use of shear modulus modulus ratio to measure the mobility of tumor malignancy screen.
The key advantages of PEF are:
• The FEM has proposed a better sensitivity for detecting size of all existing technologies – have identified a 3 mm tumor missed by mammography, ultrasound and palpation of the physician.
• It has been shown more than 90 percent correlation between the shear modulus ratio and the malignancy of the tumor – a capacity of all existing technologies lack.
• With a single or double PEF 1.5 cm wide sensitivity depth of 3 to 6 centimeters, can be tested for breast cancer for almost all body types.
• Patients are in a supine position that involves no discomfort for patients.
• The PEF is soft. It only works with less than 1 percent of the stock, causing minimal discomfort to the patient.
• It is portable and can be low cost for doctors and patients.
According to investigators PEF device is so easy to use as breast self-examination and clinical breast examination as a cost-effective pre-selection system. Although several breast cancer detection technologies exist such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and nuclear medicine examinations, these procedures are relatively expensive and require trained medical personnel. They can also carry risks of radiation exposure (for example, mammography or PET) and can also be very uncomfortable (for example, mammography and MRI). The PEF device fills the need for a screening tool for early and accurate detection of breast cancer without risk or discomfort to patients, the researchers said.
The next step in the development of the project is to build a prototype handheld probe PEF and a simple electrical measurement unit to perform the measurement in vivo in patients before surgery. Researchers anticipate a calculator ultimate size of the unit of electrical measurement and less than 5 “x 5” x 5 “3-D automation unit will be developed to operate in the PEF. This tool will help the medical image locate breast tumors smaller than current display technologies and malignancy of the tumor while saving lives.
Funding for the project is supported through a grant Coulter Foundation Translational Research.
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