Developed a wearable ultrasound scanner that can be integrated into the bra for early detection of breast cancer in high-risk women.
Breast cancer: the mini scanner in the bra
Tested on a 71-year-old lady, it has been shown to produce images with a resolution comparable to that of ultrasound probes used in medical centers.
The results are published in the journal Science Advances by the researchers of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Mit) in the United States. The device, slightly thicker than a plaster, is 3D printed with a honeycomb structure that adapts to the shape of the breast.
To take images of the entire breast, it uses an ultrasound scanner placed inside a small tracker that can be moved to six different positions.
The scanner can also be rotated to capture images from different angles and does not require any specific skills to operate. Tested on a 71-year-old woman with a history of breast cysts, she was shown to be able to detect formations as small as three millimeters (the diameter of early-stage tumors) up to a depth of eight centimeters.
The idea for this reusable device came from materials expert Canan Dagdeviren, who watched a family member die at the age of 50 from breast cancer that appeared between screening checks.
Tumors arising between two mammograms are the most insidious
Tumors that develop in the time between mammography regularly screened represent 20-30% of all breast cancer cases and tend to be more aggressive than those detected during routine exams.
To help these women, the researcher thought of developing a wearable diagnostic device that would allow more continuous monitoring to increase the survival rate up to 98%.