MAMMOCARE: earlier, more accurate breast cancer diagnosis

Photo: A mammogram with a marked area

Breast biopsy is an image-guided procedure that can use different imaging technologies; © micut

Breast cancer is by far the most frequent cancer among women, and one of the leading causes of cancer-related mortality and early diagnosis is essential to reduce the risk of mortality.

The first diagnostic tool is clinical imaging (mainly mammography and mtrasound) but suspicious findings usually require a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis; 2 percent of women who undergo a screening mammogram will require some type of breast biopsy (1.3 million women each year in Europe).

Breast biopsy is an image-guided procedure that can use different imaging technologies. Apart from ultrasound­guided biopsy, which is a manual procedure with limited indications, all current solutions are based on discrete scans of static images taken at different steps during the procedure. This guidance method makes current biopsy techniques to be long procedures with limited accuracy.

MAMMOCARE, in order to improve these procedures, offers a breast biopsy system guided by 3D real-time PEM (Positron Emission Mammography) imaging and offering real-time guidance and correction of the needle trajectory for higher accuracy and efficiency in tumor sampling. It is the first breast biopsy system in the market offering real-time monitoring and guidance. The system automatically calculates the best needle position to perform the biopsy and it places and inserts accordingly for the physician to extract the selected sample.

As José Luis Peris, a researcher at Instituto de Biomecánica (IBV), Spain, explained: "Real-time monitoring and control of biopsy procedure, together with the high precision mechanics of the biopsy positioning module assure an accurate sampling of the target lesion as well as shortening the procedure with regard to current techniques."

The European NHS could save up to 7.6 million per year using this innovative system.

MAMMOCARE is a European project funded by the Research Executive Agency, through the Research for the benefit of SMEs programme, under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union.

The consortium integrates 3 SMEs with experience in PEM imaging technology, Mechatronics applied to medical devices and Software Development: ONCOVISION (Coordinator) (Spain), Statice (France) and Virtual Angle (Netherlands). Research & Development activities will be mainly carried out by the Institute of Instrumentation in Molecular Imaging (I3M) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) (Spain), the IBV and the UK Health & Environment Research Institute (UK). Clinical feasibility of the system has been assessed through a clinical validation study at the facilities of Stichting Het Nederlands Kanker Instituut – Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek Ziekenhuis (Netherlands), collaborating end-user.; Source: Asociación RUVID

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