Experimental technique facilitates real-time breast cancer biopsies

November 14th, 2007 - 6:09 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, November 14 (ANI): A sophisticated microscope that offers a “real-time” 3-D analysis of tissue samples has shown promise to reduce the number of needle biopsies, which are needed from women suspected of having breast cancer, in future.
Such instant tests would enable doctors to immediately tell whether they have collected adequate samples of breast tissue, thereby limiting the number of repeat biopsies, say researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
At present, doctors have to extract six to eight tissue samples during a needle biopsy procedure to ensure proper sampling of the area of concern. Furthermore, at least one day is required to prepare the samples for analysis using traditional methods.
The researchers say that the new technology may help reduce 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 ducts-all of this could give us a great advantage in treating breast cancer,” said Dr. Maddalena T. Tilli, lead author of the study published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics.
“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 Dr. Priscilla Furth, the study’s senior investigator and a professor of oncology at Georgetown.
The researchers say that the whole procedure takes about 10 minutes from the time the tissue is removed.
They believe that combining this method with the traditional one, which can reveal a lot of detail about cells, may improve cancer biopsies.
“Now we can combine both of these methods. We can sample biopsy tissue instantly with microscopy and then use the same sample to fix it in the normal way to assess the type of cancer a woman has,” Furth added.
The researchers are currently studying use of new contrast agents and other methods to increase detection and resolution of cancer cells. (ANI)

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