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Adapting space-industry technology to treat breast cancer
Date:11/2/2009

Researchers at Rush University Medical Center and Argonne National Laboratory are collaborating on a study to determine if an imaging technique used by NASA to inspect the space shuttle can be used to predict tissue damage often experienced by breast cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy. The study is examining the utility of three-dimensional thermal tomography in radiation oncology.

Preliminary results from the study are being displayed during the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, being held from November 1 5, 2009.

Approximately 80 percent of breast cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment develop acute skin reactions that range in severity. The more severe reactions cause discomfort and distress to the patient, and sometimes result in treatment interruptions. The severity is quite variable among patients and difficult to predict.

"Because reactions usually occur from 10 to 14 days after the beginning of therapy, if we could predict skin reactions sooner we may be able to offer preventative treatment to maximize effectiveness and minimize interruption of radiation treatment," said Dr. Katherine Griem, professor of radiation oncology at Rush.

Researchers at Rush and Argonne are studying if three-dimensional thermal tomography (3DTT) can detect the earliest changes that may trigger a skin reaction. 3DTT is a relatively new thermal imaging process that is currently being used as a noninvasive away to detect defects in composite materials. The basic idea of thermal imaging is to apply heat or cold to a material and observing the resulting temperature change with an infrared camera to learn about its composition.

Unlike most thermal imaging studies which have quantitative limitations, 3DTT measures the thermal effusivity of skin tissue. Thermal effusivity is a measure of a material's ability to exchange heat with its surroundings.

In this study, a flas
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Contact: Kim Waterman
Kimberly_Waterman@rush.edu
312-942-7820
Rush University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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