Whitney Palmer

Healthcare. Politics. Family.

Optical Mammography Promises Specific Images, More Comfort

Published on the Oct. 8, 2012, Diagnostic Imaging web site

By Whitney L.J. Howell

Optical mammography isn’t new technology, but researchers at Tufts University School of Engineering have given it an upgrade. Now, the technique allows radiologists to obtain mammography images without radiation and with greater patient comfort.

With the support of a grant from the National Institutes of Health, investigators created a stand-alone, portable scanner that uses near-infrared light — rather than ionizing radiation — to scan the breast. Specialized software, using an algorithm based on optical information, translates the intensity of the transmitted light into breast images.

Patients are currently being recruited for a clinical study that will look at the

Shown is an optical mammography image of hemoglobin oxygenation of a duct carcinoma in situ (DCIS). The boxed area corresponds to the cancer location and indicates lower values of hemoglobin oxygenation. For cancerous tissue that is associated with abnormal hemoglobin concentration and oxygenation, optical mammography can be used to help diagnose breast cancer and also indicate how well a patient responds to breast cancer chemotherapy. (Credit: Sergio Fantini, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering at Tufts University)

scanner’s efficacy in differentiating between healthy and cancerous tissue, as well as benign lesions.

The goal, according to lead investigator and Tufts biomedical engineering professor Sergio Fantini, PhD, is to potentially provide more specific breast screenings that prompt a lower number of false positives. That change could ultimately result in fewer follow-up appointments and biopsies than traditional mammography.

“For breast screening, X-ray mammography is the gold standard, and conceptually, this is really the same thing,” Fantini said. “But the information content that we obtain with optical mammography is more related to the hemoglobin in blood and what it tells us about blood flow and oxygenation.”

In addition, optical mammography can also give you information about the amount of water and fat in breast tissue, he said. You can discern between water and fats, as well as high and low oxygen levels by how much light the tissues absorb — all details that help you diagnose cancers. The clinical study is designed to determine if Tufts’ optical mammography scanner can readily differentiate between malignant and benign lesions.

To read the remainder of the story at its original location: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/womens-imaging/content/article/113619/2106744

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October 8, 2012 - Posted by | Healthcare, Science | , , , , , , , ,

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