Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research reveals a more complete picture of breast tissue

17.09.2002


A team of Dartmouth engineers and doctors are trying to find more comfortable and comprehensive ways to examine breast tissue to better detect and diagnose breast cancer. The Dartmouth group is simultaneously developing and testing four different breast imaging techniques.



The multidisciplinary Dartmouth team includes researchers from the Thayer School of Engineering and Dartmouth Medical School, and they are working under the auspices of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center and the department of radiology at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Halfway through their five-year, $7 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study four techniques for breast imaging, the group is learning a great deal about breast tissue structure and behavior through magnetic resonance elastography (MRE), electrical impedance spectral imaging (EIS), microwave imaging spectroscopy (MIS), and near infrared (NIR) spectral imaging.

It’s the combination of these four techniques that sets the Dartmouth program apart. Their rationale is that one of the methods by itself may not provide the complete picture, but by using more than one technique, there should be added value.


"I think we’re the only group looking at these four methods simultaneously," says Keith Paulsen, engineering professor and one of the principal investigators with the Breast Imaging Project.

By collaborating across disciplines, the researchers have been able to take prototype equipment from the drawing board, to the laboratory, to the patient relatively quickly.

"The research is preliminary, but we are progressing," says Steven Poplack, associate professor of radiology and of obstetrics and gynecology. "We’re still gathering basic information about the clinical characteristics of normal breast tissue. Once we know what’s normal, we can then start working on recognizing what’s abnormal."

The new imaging methods are not invasive nor particularly uncomfortable for participants, and they all provide more detailed information about different properties of breast tissue.

"We hope our research can answer some of the anatomical and physiological questions," says Paulsen. "Our data provides quantitative information, and we hope to determine a threshold value that indicates an abnormality."

The four different techniques:

  • MRE: Using a magnetic resonance machine (the same one used in MRI exams), this test measures tissue hardness or elasticity. While in "the magnet," the breast tissue vibrates 100 times a second with very small amplitudes of less than a millimeter to determine how the tissue moves. The exam provides an image with corresponding numerical values for each portion of the breast.
  • EIS: This painless test uses a very low voltage electrode system to examine how the breast tissue conducts and stores electricity. Living cell membranes carry an electric potential that affect the way a current flows, and different cancer cells have different electrical characteristics.
  • MIS: This exam involves the propagation of very low levels (1000 times less than a cell phone) of microwave energy through breast tissue to measure electrical properties. This technique is particularly sensitive to water. Generally, tumors have been found to have more water and blood than regular tissue.
  • NIR: Infrared light is sensitive to blood, so by sending infrared light through breast tissue with a fiber optic array, the researchers are able to locate and quantify regions of oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin. This might help detect early tumor growth and characterize the stage of a tumor by learning about its vascular makeup. Different levels of blood vessel activity in a tumor influence the effectiveness of treatment, so knowing the vascularity stage of a tumor should help design better treatment regimes.

During the first two and a half years of this five-year National Cancer Institute grant, the group has made significant progress on the technical aspects of the imaging techniques. They have improved the tools and manner of delivery so the exams are more comfortable for the participants.

For the next two and a half years, the researchers will focus on a controlled trial with 150 subjects. The goal is to rigorously test the four techniques and gather data to inform the detection of abnormalities and their subsequent diagnoses.

Sue Knapp | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~news/releases/sept02/imaging.shtml

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

nachricht Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

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: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>