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Progress in ultrasound-guided surgery may improve breast cancer treatment
Date:10/26/2012

When surgeons operate to remove a tumor, determining exactly where to cut can be tricky. Ideally, the entire tumor should be removed while leaving a continuous layer of healthy tissue, but current techniques for locating the tumors during surgery are imprecise. Now a multidisciplinary team from the University of California, San Diego, is developing an alternate means of precisely tagging breast cancer tumors for removal or targeted destruction. They will present the results of their investigations at the AVS 59th International Symposium and Exhibition, held Oct. 28 Nov. 2 in Tampa, Fla.

Breast cancer is the most common female cancer in the U.S., and the main cause of death in women ages 40-59, according to UptoDate, an information service for clinical physicians. Over a lifetime, 1 in 8 women in the U.S. is expected to develop breast cancer. Despite great strides in survival, there is trauma associated not only with the disease, but also with its treatment. Many women want to avoid a full mastectomy, but conventional breast-conserving approaches, such as lumpectomy, can be arduous. Up to 25 percent of lumpectomies require a second surgery to excise the entire tumor.

The UCSD team is working on a better method for tagging tumors that should reduce the need for follow-up surgeries. The researchers developed iron-doped and therefore biodegradable silica micro/nano spheres for implanting into the body as ultrasound contrast markers to guide a surgeon using ultrasound during breast lumpectomy. Additionally, the particles can also be used to destroy tumor tissue with high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) ablative therapy, an approach used elsewhere in the world to treat prostate cancer and used in the U.S. to treat uterine fibroids.

If breast tumors are precisely marked, the number of second surgeries can be decreased by 50 percent, according to published studies using radiative tumor markers. Because the gas-filled nanoparticles tha
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Contact: Catherine Meyers
cmeyers@aip.org
301-209-3088
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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