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Student Project Aims To Replace Mammogram

March 4, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Diagnostic Imaging
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A doctoral student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, thinks he has an ultrasound-based way of differentiating between benign and malignant breast tumors. It could, he hopes, supplement or even supplant mammograms.

The student, Sevan Goenezen, calls his project “Breast Cancer Diagnosis with Nonlinear Elasticity Imaging.” It is one of the three finalists for the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Rensselaer Student Prize. The winner will be announced on Wednesday.

Goenezen, a student in the department of mechanical, aerospace, and nuclear engineering, uses complex computer algorithms to analyze ultrasound images of breast tissue. The algorithms infer the mechanical properties of the tissue as it is compressed. According to a Rensselaer news release, the structure of collagen fibers in tumors differs significantly from that of collagen fibers in benign tissue.

In a clinical study, Goenezen used his technique to analyze 10 data sets, five from women with breast cancer and five from women with benign tumors. The system correctly diagnosed nine of the 10, with the miss being a false positive. (Collaborating on the study were scientists and engineers at Rensselaer, Boston University, the University of Wisconsin, and Siemens USA.)

Goenezen, a native of Germany who moved to the United States in 2007 to pursue his doctorate, hopes that his technique eventually will reduce or eliminate the necessity for biopsies, which are expensive, invasive, uncomfortable, and anxiety-inducing. Perhaps, he says, it might allow ultrasound to replace mammograms, thus eliminating the danger posed by mammograms’ ionizing radiation.

He also thinks it could be adapted to diagnose such other diseases as prostate cancer, cervical cancer, cirrhosis of the liver, and atherosclerosis.

Not surprisingly, Goenezen expects to complete his doctorate in May and graduate with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.

Related seminar: Breast Imaging and Intervention: A Comprehensive Review (discounts available, plus free shipping and handling)

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One Response to “Student Project Aims To Replace Mammogram”

  1. Radiology Daily»AlertArchive » Is MUT The Successor To The Mammogram? on March 18th, 2011 at 10:01 am

    […] we reported a couple of weeks ago, ultrasound has the ability to measure the mechanical properties of breast tissues, which can […]