Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Breast CT reaches clinical testing: May improve on mammography

11.05.2005


Technology developed at UC Davis may be gentler, more accurate than mammography



A new breast screening technology that may be able to detect tumors earlier than mammography -- without the need for uncomfortable breast compression -- is being tested in patients at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center. Developed at UC Davis, the machine is the first breast CT to reach clinical testing in a generation. An early prototype was tested in the 1970s, but abandoned as impractical.

"We think this technology may allow radiologists to routinely detect breast tumors at about the size of a small pea," said John M. Boone, professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at UC Davis and the machine’s developer. "In contrast, mammography detects tumors that are about the size of a garbanzo bean. Tumor size at detection is one of the most important factors in determining breast cancer prognosis, so if we can detect smaller cancers and do so routinely, survival from this disease will improve."


Unlike mammography, in which the breast is squeezed between two plates, the breast CT machine requires no breast compression.The patient lies face down on a padded table. The table has a circular opening in it, through which the patient places one breast at a time.

A CT machine under the table scans each breast. The screening takes about 17 seconds per breast. "There was no discomfort," said Lydia Howell, a professor of pathology at UC Davis and a volunteer in preliminary clinical testing of the breast scanner. "But the more important advance will be if breast CT does detect tumors earlier than mammography. The earlier and smaller a cancer is when it is detected, the less the chance that it has spread to the lymph nodes, lungs or bones, and the greater the chance for a permanent cure and for breast preservation."

A mammogram is an X-ray taken through all the layers of the breast at once. The resulting image may not detect a tumor hidden by other structures within the breast. This is more likely to happen in the case of young women with dense breasts or in women with breast implants.

The breast CT scanner takes images of virtual "slices" of the breast -- about 300 images per breast. Computers then assemble these images into highly detailed, three-dimensional pictures that provide a more unobstructed view of breast tissues than can be seen on mammography. "It’s the difference between taking a picture of a crowd from across the street, versus circling the crowd and shooting hundreds of separate photos along the way, each photo only two or three people deep. Your chances of finding a particular person in the crowd are going to be a lot better with more photos," Boone said.

Boone and his colleagues are testing the new technology in a clinical trial that will enroll about 190 patients. The trial is open only to UC Davis patients with recent mammograms that are suspicious for breast cancer.

Women who agree to participate in this trial have the breast CT examination followed by a needle biopsy of the suspicious tissue.

If the trial confirms that breast CT detects tumors as well as mammography, as investigators expect, the next step will be a larger trial to determine whether the new technology can indeed detect tumors earlier than mammography. Boone believes that a more extensive trial could be under way within two to three years.

Boone developed the machine in collaboration with UC Davis radiology professors Karen K. Lindfors and J. Anthony Seibert, and UC San Diego radiology professor Thomas R. Nelson. The breast CT project was funded by $6 million in grants from the California Breast Cancer Research Program, the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

"Of course, we are going to let the science dictate where we go with this," Boone said, "but if all goes well, breast CT may be the breast cancer screening technology of the future."

Boone, a medical physicist who holds six scientific patents, has served as a consultant to the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Army Breast Cancer Research Program. He is vice chair for research in the UC Davis Department of Radiology and co-leader of the UC Davis Cancer Center Biomedical Technology Program.

Computed tomography, sometimes called "CAT scanning," is used every day to scan brains, lungs, abdomens and pelvises. But imaging experts long ago dismissed CT as impractical for breast cancer screening, assuming it would require too much radiation.

Boone and his colleagues decided to revisit the issue, recognizing that radiation-dose estimates for breast CT were based on use of standard CT machines, which would require the breast and entire chest to be scanned together. When Boone recalculated radiation doses based on scanning the breast alone, he found that CT imaging would use no more radiation than mammography.

Scientists at the University of Rochester, the University of Massachusetts, and Duke University are also developing breast CT scanners, but Boone’s is the first to have reached clinical testing. "A number of talented scientists around the country are working on the development of this new tool, and this friendly competition keeps us all working that much harder to produce results," Boone said.

For now, women should continue to get mammograms as recommended by their physicians. "Although the breast CT images are interesting, mammography is the currently accepted gold standard for breast cancer screening, and women should continue to get their annual mammograms," radiologist Lindfors emphasized.

"Even if our best hopes are realized, breast CT will not be commercially available for at least five years, and probably longer. Don’t put off getting mammograms, because it will take some time to develop this newer technology," she said.

Claudia Morain | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women'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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>