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Experimental technique at GUMC offers real-time analysis of breast cancer biopsies
Date:11/13/2007

Washington, D.C. − A sophisticated microscope that offers a real-time 3-D analysis of tissue samples might, in the future, reduce the number of needle biopsies traditionally needed from women suspected of having breast cancer, according to recent research published at Georgetown University Medical Centers Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Such an instant test would mean that physicians could immediately tell if they have collected adequate samples of breast tissue and limit the number of repeat biopsies, said the investigators, whose study appeared in the September/October issue of the Journal of Biomedical Optics.

Currently, physicians extract 6-8 tissue samples during a needle biopsy procedure to ensure proper sampling of the area of concern. In addition, at least one day is required to prepare the samples for analysis using traditional methods. The new technology is designed to limit patient discomfort and anxiety.

With this microscope, we can tell instantly whether we have cancer cells or not, or what kind of cells we are looking at, whether they are fat, structural, or epithelial cells that line breast milk ductsall of this could give us a great advantage in treating breast cancer, said the studys lead investigator, Maddalena T. Tilli, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Priscilla Furth, MD, at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center.

This tool could perhaps be used at the bedside to not only reduce the number of biopsies that we take from patients, but which could possibly be used during an operation to make sure surgeons have removed all cancerous tissue, said Furth, the studys senior investigator and a professor of oncology at Georgetown.

The technique is fairly simple. A reflectance confocal microscope reflects near-infrared light off multiple mirrors through tissue, then records the scattering of light. The idea behind this is that certai
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Contact: Becky Wexler
rjw43@georgetown.edu
202-687-5100
Georgetown University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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