Another interesting product in the works for the diagnosis of breast cancer is the BreastChecker by Highland Innovation Centre Ltd. (please note that Highland Innovation is sponsoring an ad on these pages, but we think that BreastChecker is an interesting product irrespective of their generous support of our group blog).
The technology behind the product has to do with the fact that malignant CAs have proliferating blood vessels (the so-called angiogenesis) that have to supply a rapidly growing mass:
The chaotic mass of vessels surrounding the tumour supply oxygen and nutrients to the cancer and permit accelerated tumour growth. Angiogenesis is also a pathway for spread of tumour cells leading to secondary growths. Red blood cells strongly absorb light at about 550 nm [ the absorption bands of oxyhaemoglobin ]. In consequence the absorption of light passing through breast tissue surrounding the cancer is greater because of associated angiogenesis than that passing through tissues distant from it. Thus with a suitable light source applied to the underside of the female breast an area of reduced brightness on the superior aspect of the breast frequently indicates the presence of a cancer.
The BreastChecker prototype is equiped with optical (7 LEDs) and Doppler ultrasound features to discriminate between benign and malignant breast tumours. The company is thinking that this product will one day be in the hands of women themselves as “… an inexpensive, quick, and convenient way of determining whether or not they need to consult their doctor.”
More at HIC…