Purdue University scientists have developed a new breast-cancer detection technology that uses a flexible, wearable antenna system to pick up the presence of tumor cells.
The device, reported in the International Journal of Computer Aided Engineering and Technology, could be modified to fit a brassiere-like imaging system that uses non-ionizing radiation to detect cancerous breast tissue.
The researchers suggested the system is safe, inexpensive, and could detect breast cancer earlier than other screening techniques. But they added that it is designed to complement – not replace – mammography.
"It has been well recognized that the early detection of breast cancer by regular breast screening increases the survival rate among the breast cancer patients," said the researchers.
But they noted conventional mammography uses ionizing radiation, has a high rate of inaccurate results and is uncomfortable. In addition, test results showing early tumors are often obscured by dense breast tissue, which often leads to unnecessary biopsies.
The new technology, developed by Purdue’s Integrated Nanosystems Development Institute, uses sensitive microwave signals to spot tumors.
The researchers are currently working on software that will allow them to convert the microwave signals from the system into two-dimensional and three-dimensional images of breast tumors.