Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New method for the diagnosis of cancer in breast tissue

Date:
August 2, 2011
Source:
Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI)
Summary:
Scientists have developed a new breast cancer diagnostic method, and are now carrying out first tests on non-preserved human tissue. This new method should be able to reveal structures that cannot be seen using conventional mammography. Standard procedures only determine the extent to which X-rays are attenuated by various tissue structures. In contrast to this, the new method also makes use of the fact that X-rays actually consist of waves, and that their properties change slightly as they travel through tissue.

Dr. Nik Hauser and Prof. M. Stampanoni discuss results in the mammography room at Kantonsspital Baden.
Credit: PSI/M.Fischer

The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) has developed a new breast cancer diagnostic method, and is now carrying out first tests on non-preserved human tissue in conjunction with the Kantonsspital Baden AG. This new method should be able to reveal structures that cannot be seen using conventional mammography. Standard procedures only determine the extent to which X-rays are attenuated by various tissue structures. In contrast to this, the new method also makes use of the fact that X-rays actually consist of waves, and that their properties change slightly as they travel through tissue.

These changes are now measurable and can contribute to the creation of a more meaningful image of the object under investigation. Scientists from the research department at Philips are currently investigating the use of this process as the basis for application in medical practice, and in mammography in particular. The researchers have reported on their results in the online edition of the "Investigative Radiology" journal.

The aim of any mammography investigation is to detect tumours in the female breast as early as possible, so that treatment can start in good time. A good mammography procedure is therefore expected to recognise as many tissue changes as possible and to distinguish tumour tissue clearly from any other tissue. At the same time, the radiation dose administered during the investigation must be kept as low as possible.

Tests under realistic conditions

Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute have developed a procedure that should provide these benefits. Working with doctors from the Kantonsspital Baden (KSB), they have now succeeded for the first time in generating images of tissue that originated from breast surgery but had not been preserved. This approach produces an extremely close approximation to the situation in which an actual investigation is carried out on human beings. "For example, we could use this new process to distinguish scars from tumour tissue and identify extremely small cancer nodules, of a size never yet identified by current investigation techniques," said Dr. Nik Hauser, director of the certified breast centre at the Kantonsspital, who led the project on the medical side. A clinical study is currently underway, and should prove the advantages of the new method using a larger group of patients. In particular, doctors who did not take part in the development of the method are required to make an independent assessment of the advantages of the new images in comparison with those obtained from conventional X-rays.

Method developed at the Paul Scherrer Institute

In this new procedure, X-rays pass through the breast in exactly the same way as in conventional mammography. However, a normal X-ray image can only determine how much of the beam has been retained by the tissue -- basically, an X-ray image just shows the shadow cast by the object under investigation. However, X-rays also undergo another subtle change as they travel through an object. Physically, X-rays are electromagnetic waves and, as they pass through various tissue structures, the direction of the waves undergoes slight changes -- a similar effect to that shown by water waves hitting a pier in a harbour. "We at the Paul Scherrer Institute have spent years developing methods for investigating these changes and interpreting the information they contain, so that we can create the basis for new investigative methods to be used in medical and materials research," explained Marco Stampanoni, Professor at the Institute for Biomedical Engineering at the University and ETH Zurich and director of this project at PSI.

One particular feature of the phase-contrast method used in this process is the three extremely fine gratings through which the X-rays have to pass -- one in front of the object under investigation and the other two located behind it. The various components of the light waves interact with each other here in such a way as to provide the required information. The X-rays are generated in a tube that is essentially the same as an X-ray tube used in normal, everyday clinical practice.

The next goal: A prototype for use in practice

The long-term aim of this work is to develop a novel piece of equipment that can be used for regular routine breast examinations in clinical practice, and deliver improved images of breast tissue -- at a significantly lower cost than techniques such as computer tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. Philips has been brought into the project as an experienced partner in the field of healthcare. "The potential of this method is defined on the one hand by the innovative nature of the measured information, but on the other hand is also characterised by the use of conventional technologies that are widely applied in medical technology to generate and detect X-rays. Our declared goal is to use the example of mammography on humans beings to conclusively demonstrate the clinical benefits," explained Ewald Rφssl, project manager for this research work at Philips.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marco Stampanoni, Zhentian Wang, Thomas Thόring, Christian David, Ewald Roessl, Mafalda Trippel, Rahel A. Kubik-Huch, Gad Singer, Michael K. Hohl, Nik Hauser. The First Analysis and Clinical Evaluation of Native Breast Tissue Using Differential Phase-Contrast Mammography. Investigative Radiology, 2011; 1 DOI: 10.1097/RLI.0b013e31822a585f

Cite This Page:

Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI). "New method for the diagnosis of cancer in breast tissue." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110802085838.htm>.
Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI). (2011, August 2). New method for the diagnosis of cancer in breast tissue. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110802085838.htm
Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI). "New method for the diagnosis of cancer in breast tissue." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110802085838.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) — Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) — TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) — Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) — When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
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