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Grants from the Swedish Breast Cancer Association for breast cancer imaging research
Published 23 November 2020
In October, Predrag Bakic received a research grant from the Swedish Breast Cancer Association for 600 000 SEK. His research focuses on the evaluation of a novel clinical imaging system for early breast cancer screening, which combines X-ray and mechanical imaging of the breast.
Predrag Bakic is a visiting researcher in diagnostic radiology at Lund University, supported by a Marie Curie Fellowship. He is also Associate Professor of Radiology at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. The hosts at Lund University in Malmö are Professor Sophia Zackrisson and Associate Professor Anders Tingberg, both research team leaders responsible for the research group Lund University Breast Cancer Imaging (LUCI).
“The money from the Swedish Breast Cancer Association will support the preclinical optimization of the simultaneous digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) and mechanical imaging (MI) of the breast – called DBTMI. Three-dimensional imaging of breast anatomy by DBT increases sensitivity in finding tumors. On the other hand, the functional characterization of local tissue stiffness by MI helps distinguish true cancers from false positives that are suspicious findings in X-ray images, which are not cancers. Combining these two methods improves the accuracy of cancer detection. This means that we will be able to find more cancers earlier and treat them more successfully. And moreover, with fewer women sent to unnecessary biopsies we will have less psychological burden on the women and less financial burden on the healthcare system”, says Predrag Bakic.
Simultaneous integration of DBT and MI means that women will have the same experience during the screening exam, without increasing the radiation dose or the exam time.
LUCI research group and Lund University are at the forefront of breast MI imaging. A previous pilot study of MI combined with mammography, published by Magnus Dustler, demonstrated about 35 percent reduction in false positives and biopsies.
Using computer simulations to optimize breast imaging
The support from the Swedish Breast Cancer Association will give the researchers opportunity to design and perform computer simulations of DBTMI, using the software for virtual clinical trials (VCTs) developed by Predrag Bakic and his colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania.
VCTs include computer models of breast anatomy, imaging systems and image interpretation, which help evaluate and optimize systems for medical imaging. The introduction of the VCT concept took place about ten years ago. Now many research laboratories in academia, government, and industry in over fifteen countries have accepted this concept.
“We will run VCT studies of DBTMI on many simulated patients and compare them to clinical imaging options currently available to women with suspicious findings at SUS Malmö. The VCT results will help to optimize DBTMI prototype developed at Lund, before performing a pilot clinical trial”, concludes Predrag Bakic.