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

t the researchers developed make tumors easier to see, they hold the potential for increasing surgical precision with a safe agent. Once injected into the breast cancer tumor, they stick, rendering the tumor more visible with contrast-enhanced ultrasound.

"We are trying to improve the markers surgeons use so they can pull the tumors out with more precision and ease, while reducing trauma for the patient," explains Alex Liberman, the PhD graduate student in the materials science and engineering program who has taken the concept from test tube to animal models. Adds his advisor, chemical physicist Andrew Kummel, PhD: "We are using these particles for two applications. In the short term we are injecting them into breast tumors to enable surgeons to halve the number of second surgeries by readily locating the tumors in the operating room with low- power ultrasound imaging. In the long term, we want to inject the particles intravenously, have them stick to the tumors, and then ablate the tumors by blowing up the particles with high intensity focus ultrasound which is called HIFU."

As now performed, the lumpectomy requires a surgeon to extract tumors through incisions in the breast with the aid of guide wires that protrude out of the breast to help locate the tumor. The wires are prone to movement, and therefore yield imprecise results. Furthermore, the wires are inserted while the patient is awake, which is unpleasant for the patient.

The next step for the team involves conducting more animal tumor studies. Those results will determine if the particles are suitable technology to submit to human clinical breast cancer trials as a localizing agent to guide lumpectomy surgery or even for HIFU therapy.


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Contact: Catherine Meyers
cmeyers@aip.org
301-209-3088
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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