Wednesday, 24 June 2009
Edith Cowan University (ECU) researchers are working with the developers of a new breast imaging technology to determine if the system can provide a more accurate, user-friendly alternative to traditional scanning techniques.
The Near Infrared Breast Scanner (NIBS) has been developed by a Chinese company, Daheng Group, as an alternative to mammograms and ultra-sound methods for detecting breast cancer.
The NIBS is completely painless, has no harmful side effects and can be used repeatedly.
The high resolution imaging enables early screening and diagnosis of breast cancer, and unlike current scanning techniques, the NIBS can be used safely on women with implants, of all ages and regardless of breast size or density.
ECU's Vario Health Institute is conducting a clinical trial with breast cancer patients in Perth to assess the capabilities of the device and the potential applications.
If the trials prove successful, the NIBS could be used in Australia for earlier diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, potentially saving thousands of lives each year.
Director of the Vario Health Institute, Professor Rob Newton says the key to reducing breast cancer mortality is early detection and early treatment to try and reduce mortality.
"Some 14,500 new cases are projected for 2010 but early detection means increased treatment options, improved quality of life and ultimately increased survival," he says.
ECU has the only two NIBS devices in Australia, and results from the trial will be available early 2010.
ECU's Electron Science Research Institute, under the leadership of Professor Kamal Alameh, is working to further develop the NIBS to increase accuracy and make the technology more user-friendly with the latest advances in photonics research.
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