HHS Grant to Advance Breast Cancer Screenings Based on Ultrasound

HHS Grant to Advance Breast Cancer Screenings Based on Ultrasound
A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant will fund research at two universities into whether an ultrasound technology might be more effective than mammography at detecting breast cancer, particularly in younger people. At present, mammography is most often used to screen for and diagnose breast cancers. However, mammograms are essentially X-rays, and aren't especially good at detecting certain types of breast tumors, particularly in younger people who tend to have more dense breast tissue. The new project will be headed by Mark Anastasio, PhD, a professor at the University of Illinois, and by Neb Duric, PhD, a professor at Wayne State University. That grant award is titled "Advanced image reconstruction for accurate and high-resolution breast ultrasound tomography." "The current methods of mammography ... are based on X-rays," Anastasio said in a press release. "We're investigating this new technology that can be useful for breast cancer imaging that is based on the use of ultrasound instead of X-rays." In order to produce images, X-ray-based technologies use ionizing radiation — high-energy rays that can move through bodies to provide details about what's inside. But these rays can also cause damage to cellular structures like DNA; that's why X-ray technicians wear leaded aprons, which block X-rays. The new technology will use ultrasound — sound waves — instead. These waves can also move through the body, but don't carry the same safety risks: "Not only is it safer because it doesn't involve ionizing radia
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