Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New imaging technique could help physicians ease the aftermath of breast cancer

Date:
August 5, 2010
Source:
Optical Society of America
Summary:
A new study of breast cancer survivors may help physicians ease a common side effect of cancer treatments. The research could bring relief to millions.

A new study of breast cancer survivors may help physicians ease a common side effect of cancer treatments. The collaborative research by Eva Sevick, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Molecular Imaging at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston (UTHSC), and Caroline Fife, M.D., Director of the Memorial Herman Wound Care Clinic at UTHSC, could bring relief to millions.

Related Articles


Their paper appears in the inaugural issue of Biomedical Optics Express, an online, open-access journal published by the Optical Society (OSA). The papers featured in the journal will encompass theoretical modeling and simulations, technology development, biomedical studies and clinical applications.

A substantial number of breast cancer survivors suffer from lymphedema in the aftermath of their cancer surgeries. In lymphedema, fluids accumulate in the arms, potentially causing disfiguring and debilitating swelling that can impact quality of life.

Treatments vary, but they generally consist of using manual and pneumatic therapies to "push" or stimulate the body to remove excess fluid and reduce tissue swelling. Finding out whether a treatment is working can take months. That's because the current method of assessing progress is to measure the circumference or volume of a limb and check for changes in swelling -- and a size change big enough to be measured takes time.

During this time, the condition might improve -- or it might worsen.

The UTHSC research team has developed what promises to be a more sensitive and more immediate way to monitor the effectiveness of a treatment. Their new near-infrared fluorescence imaging technique examines the root cause of lymphedema: blockages or damages in the lymphatic system that prevent fluid from circulating through the body and cause it to pool in the limbs.

"The lymphatics are like the sewer system of your body," says Sevick. "If they get all plugged up, then there's a flood."

Nine women -- six with lymphedema and three controls -- were injected with a near-infrared fluorescent dye that has been used safely for 50 years at much higher dosages. The dye is taken up by the lymphatic system. When tissue surfaces are exposed to a dim, near-infrared laser -- harmless to the human body -- the dye within fluoresces, revealing its transit through the lymphatic system.

"This is the only method that can directly check for improvements in lymphatic function in one sitting, before and after a treatment," says Sevick.

Physicians have several treatment options for controlling lymphedema. They may use compression bandages and massage limbs to manually encourage fluids to drain from the arm. Pneumatic compression devices, sleeves made of segmented chambers that inflate and squeeze, may provide a similar benefit at home, but they may not always be covered by Medicare reimbursements because of lacking direct evidence of their benefit.

"The problem is that there has been no good way to measure direct evidence of benefit," says Sevick. "Hopefully we can use near-infrared fluorescence imaging technique to show improved lymphatic function from these treatments."

The NIR fluorescence technique detected statistically significant improvements in fluid flow through the lymphatic system immediately after the use of pneumatic compression devices. A larger follow-up study will be needed to confirm the results of this pilot study, says Sevick.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and by Tactile Systems Technology, Inc., which manufactures and markets the Flexitouch pneumatic compression devices tested in this research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Optical Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Adams et al. Direct evidence of lymphatic function improvement after advanced pneumatic compression device treatment of lymphedema. Biomedical Optics Express, 2010; 1 (1): 114 DOI: 10.1364/BOE.1.000114

Cite This Page:

Optical Society of America. "New imaging technique could help physicians ease the aftermath of breast cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100803152819.htm>.
Optical Society of America. (2010, August 5). New imaging technique could help physicians ease the aftermath of breast cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100803152819.htm
Optical Society of America. "New imaging technique could help physicians ease the aftermath of breast cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100803152819.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

Newsy (Nov. 28, 2014) — WHO cites four studies that say Ebola can still be detected in semen up to 82 days after the onset of symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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