25 September 2023

ANSTO imaging to bust breast cancer

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Researchers at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) Synchrotron have developed a new imaging technique that could lead to improvements in the detection and diagnosis of breast cancer.

The research is being conducted by a group of imaging scientists led by Patrick Brennan of the University of Sydney and Tim Gureyev of the University of Melbourne.

It uses the Imaging and Medical Beamline at the Australian Synchrotron with the support of Instrument Scientist, Daniel Häusermann.

Professor Brennan said the technique, called in-line phase-contrast computed tomography (PCT), is due to be used on the first patients by 2020 and was being developed because of the high error rate that still exists with current screening techniques.

“Approximately 30 per cent of cancers are still missed by radiologists and for patients with high breast density the missed cancer rate is over 50 per cent,” Professor Brennan said.

“This can lead to late detection of the cancer, and regrettably, often fatal outcomes from metastasis.”

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews said breast cancer was the most common cancer that affected women.

“This research will mean better image quality, a more accurate diagnosis, and a smaller radiation dose,” Mrs Andrews said.

“Importantly, there will be no discomfort for patients as the breast compression process will no longer be necessary.”

A 3D animation of the screening process can be accessed at this PS News link.

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