Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we have decided to detail some information about a promising new technology coming out of Utah which was recently presented during nVidia's GPU Technology Conference
.So why is this technology important?
Every year, over 36 million women are screened for breast cancer in the U.S.
1 in 8 women will get breast cancer and 50,000 women will die from breast cancer in 2009 (personally, I come from a high risk family and I know how it is to lose someone over breast cancer.). In addition to all of this, their imaging options for detecting cancer are limited. First off, mammography misses cancer in 30% of women who have it. In addition to that, because it is painful to some many women don't want to do it. There are also breast MRIs but they are expensive and often require the patient to consume contrast. These are also sensitive like mammograms, but not specific as to what the problem is. This technology is most commonly used for high risk patients. Another methodology is needle biopsy, which is as painful as it sounds. There are over 2.5 million biopsy procedures each year in the U.S. and 80% or more are benign. In addition to biopsies, there are also traditional ultrasounds which are sensitive and specific, but lack image capture and archive capabilities. These often require a high degree of skill to operate which makes availability an issue.So how is Techniscan's technology better?
It is an automated three dimensional whole breast ultrasound which is operator independent and can be repeated time and time again. The equipment is relatively small which makes it more portable and can be moved from room to room. The reason that repetition is important is because some solutions, like mammograms, involve radiation which is harmful to people over the long term.
Techniscan achieves the 3D imagery by combining 3 different images taken by the ultrasound which gathers information at every 2 degrees as it rotates around and sends waves to the receiver on the other side of the breast. This procedure results in a volumetric image which is generated using a combination of measuring the reflection ultrasounds, attenuation of sound, and the speed of sound.
Jim Hardwick and David Robinson from Techniscan Medical Systems
recently gave two talks during the nVidia GPU technology conference detailing their company's approach towards improving the detection of breast cancer while making the entire process less painful and quicker. The way that Techniscan Medical Systems has done this is by creating a Whole Breast Ultrasound, which is currently on its way to FDA approval. They are a medical imaging company who is based in Utah that works on the research and development of medical imaging technologies.
The way that this procedure is done is by lowering the breast into a warm water solution and then the ultrasound goes around the breast and collects the necessary data. This is different from the standard reflection ultrasounds this is similar to the ultrasounds people are accustomed to. This device combines both reflection and transmission ultrasounds which means that there is one part sending the sound signals and then another receiving them from the other side of the breast. This allows for quality imagery to be created and also helps acquire enough data to create fully 3D volumetric imaging.
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