Mammography is a widely used breast cancer screening technology. However, it is challenging to detect tumours in breasts with radiographically dense tissue. Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) is able to overcome this problem. When used alongside existing techniques, MBI significantly increases the breast cancer detection rate by a factor of 4. Smaller tumours in the early stages of breast cancer are less likely to be missed in dense breast tissue. However, MBI has not yet been widely adopted in Europe or the UK, due to its long scan times and its relatively high patient effective dose (radiation exposed to the patient during the procedure).
In 2018, Kromek began developing a solution to overcome these two main limitations of MBI, working alongside UCL and the Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The goal of the Low Dose MBI project is to decrease the scan time and effective dose of MBI, so it becomes a more adoptable solution in breast cancer screening and diagnosis. So far, using results from simulations, we expect to achieve an overall reduction factor of 8 in dose, scan time, or, in a combination of both. This will bring the scan time and effective dose of Low Dose MBI down to a level more comparable to mammography and other alternative techniques.
The Next Step
The next phase of the project is to continue with experimental trials. The results so far indicate the potential of Low Dose MBI to increase the effectiveness of breast cancer detection in women with dense breasts, ultimately saving lives.
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