Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Progress in Ultrasound-Guided Surgery May Improve Breast Cancer Treatment

When surgeons operate to remove a tumor, determining exactly where to cut can be tricky.

Ideally, the entire tumor should be removed while leaving a continuous layer of healthy tissue, but current techniques for locating the tumors during surgery are imprecise. Now a multidisciplinary team from the University of California, San Diego, is developing an alternate means of precisely tagging breast cancer tumors for removal or targeted destruction. They will present the results of their investigations at the AVS 59th International Symposium and Exhibition, held Oct. 28 – Nov. 2 in Tampa, Fla.

Breast cancer is the most common female cancer in the U.S., and the main cause of death in women ages 40-59, according to UptoDate, an information service for clinical physicians. Over a lifetime, 1 in 8 women in the U.S. is expected to develop breast cancer. Despite great strides in survival, there is trauma associated not only with the disease, but also with its treatment. Many women want to avoid a full mastectomy, but conventional breast-conserving approaches, such as lumpectomy, can be arduous. Up to 25 percent of lumpectomies require a second surgery to excise the entire tumor.

The UCSD team is working on a better method for tagging tumors that should reduce the need for follow-up surgeries. The researchers developed iron-doped – and therefore biodegradable – silica micro/nano spheres for implanting into the body as ultrasound contrast markers to guide a surgeon using ultrasound during breast lumpectomy. Additionally, the particles can also be used to destroy tumor tissue with high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) ablative therapy, an approach used elsewhere in the world to treat prostate cancer and used in the U.S. to treat uterine fibroids.

If breast tumors are precisely marked, the number of second surgeries can be decreased by 50 percent, according to published studies using radiative tumor markers. Because the gas-filled nanoparticles that the researchers developed make tumors easier to see, they hold the potential for increasing surgical precision with a safe agent. Once injected into the breast cancer tumor, they stick, rendering the tumor more visible with contrast-enhanced ultrasound.

"We are trying to improve the markers surgeons use so they can pull the tumors out with more precision and ease, while reducing trauma for the patient," explains Alex Liberman, the PhD graduate student in the materials science and engineering program who has taken the concept from test tube to animal models. Adds his advisor, chemical physicist Andrew Kummel, PhD: "We are using these particles for two applications. In the short term we are injecting them into breast tumors to enable surgeons to halve the number of second surgeries by readily locating the tumors in the operating room with low- power ultrasound imaging. In the long term, we want to inject the particles intravenously, have them stick to the tumors, and then ablate the tumors by blowing up the particles with high intensity focus ultrasound which is called HIFU.”

As now performed, the lumpectomy requires a surgeon to extract tumors through incisions in the breast with the aid of guide wires that protrude out of the breast to help locate the tumor. The wires are prone to movement, and therefore yield imprecise results. Furthermore, the wires are inserted while the patient is awake, which is unpleasant for the patient.

The next step for the team involves conducting more animal tumor studies. Those results will determine if the particles are suitable technology to submit to human clinical breast cancer trials as a localizing agent to guide lumpectomy surgery or even for HIFU therapy.


The Tampa Convention Center is located along the Riverwalk in the heart of downtown Tampa at 333 S. Franklin St., Tampa, Florida, 33602.


Main meeting website:
Technical Program:
Housing and Travel Information:
The AVS Pressroom will be located in the Tampa Convention Center. Your complimentary media badge will allow you to utilize the pressroom to write, interview, collect new product releases, review material, or just relax. The media badge will also admit you, free of charge, into the exhibit area, lectures, and technical sessions, as well as the Welcome Mixer on Monday evening and the Awards Ceremony and Reception on Wednesday night. Pressroom hours are Monday-Thursday, 8-5 p.m.

To register, please contact:

Della Miller, AVS
This news release was prepared for AVS by the American Institute of Physics (AIP).
Founded in 1953, AVS is a not-for-profit professional society that promotes communication between academia, government laboratories, and industry for the purpose of sharing research and development findings over a broad range of technologically relevant topics. Its symposia and journals provide an important forum for the dissemination of information in many areas of science and technology, enabling a critical gateway for the rapid insertion of scientific breakthroughs into manufacturing realities.

Catherine Meyers | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>