Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Breast Cancer Detector That Uses Electricity Instead Of X-rays Under Study

Date:
April 27, 2005
Source:
Medical College Of Georgia
Summary:
A painless, portable device that uses electrical current rather than X-ray to examine breasts for cancer is under study at the Medical College of Georgia.

Drs. James Craft and Jagadishwar Devkota, MCG radiologists, look at a device that uses electricity, rather than X-rays, to examine breasts for cancer.
Credit: Photo by Phil Jones

A painless, portable device that uses electrical current rather than X-ray to examine breasts for cancer is under study at the Medical College of Georgia.

MCG is one of some 20 centers across the world studying impedance scanning, a technique based on evidence that electrical current passes through cancerous tissue more easily than normal tissue.

Preliminary studies have shown the technique, which takes about 10 minutes and doesn’t require often-uncomfortable breast compression, can pick up very small tumors, according to its developers, Z-Tech, Inc., which has offices in South Carolina and Ontario.

The study of some 4,500 women – about 500 at MCG Medical Center – will determine whether the device, which produces a report rather than a breast image, is accurate enough for widespread use, says Dr. James H. Craft, MCG radiologist and a principal investigator.

Impedance scanning involves placing a flower-shaped grouping of electrodes with a hole in the center for the nipple over each breast. A small amount of electricity is sent through the breasts and a computer immediately calculates and presents findings based on Z-Tech’s benchmarks for negative and positive results. Rather than waiting for a radiologist to look at an X-ray, the computer immediately notes whether the image is HEDA negative, meaning no cancer detected, or positive.

“For a number of years now, it’s been known that when a malignancy happens in the breast, the impedance of electricity through that area decreases,” Dr. Craft says. “Apparently, cell permeability increases so water flows through the cells more than in normal tissue. The electrical signature of that tissue is different.” Electrocardiograms, which have been used for years to assess heart muscle, also are based on the theory that normal and diseased tissue conduct electricity differently.

Potential study enrollees include healthy women who get a screening mammogram and opt to get the additional electrical study within 90 days. Patients coming in for a first-time biopsy or tissue aspiration also are eligible prior to their procedure. “We want volunteers who want to help society,” says Dr. Craft of the additional test.

“Mammography currently is the standard around the world for imaging the breast,” Dr. Craft says. Healthy women are encouraged to do monthly self-exams, get yearly physician exams, get their first screening mammograms between ages 35-40 and begin yearly exams at age 40. Generally, the breast cancer risk increases with age.

Although he’s not convinced the new impedance scanning – called HEDA for Homologous Electrical Difference Analysis – will ever replace mammography, Dr. Craft sees its potential. “Society is always trying to find something better, more accurate, more precise, that doesn’t hurt, doesn’t give any radiation and doesn’t cost much.”

HEDA doesn’t use radiation so it doesn’t require lead-lined exam rooms and is highly portable, which enhances its usage potential in even the most remote areas of the world, says Dr. Craft. “You could put it in a van with a generator and go around and screen a lot of women.” HEDA may exceed mammography’s performance particularly in assessing the dense breasts of younger women. “As women age, breasts become more fatty; they lose the fibrous and glandular tissue that are there for milk production,” says Dr. Craft. Less-dense breasts appear darker in an X-ray image, making them easier for the radiologist to assess. “If this is a very innocuous study that can be applied to younger people and we can pick up cancers in women who are 25, 27, 28 and save many lives without giving them radiation … it could save people and money, too.”

HEDA is performed after breast tissue has had 24 hours to recover from the compression of mammography. Exclusionary factors include previous breast surgery, nipple rings, anatomical abnormalities and women who are pregnant or breast feeding. Potential side effects include localized irritation at the site of the electrodes, a rare occurrence that typically resolves within 24 hours.

A repeat study is performed a year later and participants will receive a small compensation after the second visit. Participants will not receive HEDA results but will receive their mammogram report per usual, says Helen Fain, a nurse and study sub-investigator and coordinator.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Medical College Of Georgia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Medical College Of Georgia. "Breast Cancer Detector That Uses Electricity Instead Of X-rays Under Study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 April 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050426213555.htm>.
Medical College Of Georgia. (2005, April 27). Breast Cancer Detector That Uses Electricity Instead Of X-rays Under Study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050426213555.htm
Medical College Of Georgia. "Breast Cancer Detector That Uses Electricity Instead Of X-rays Under Study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050426213555.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

AFP (July 23, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th. Thousands turned out for a free clinic run by "Remote Area Medical" with a visit from the Governor of Virginia. Duration: 2:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins