29 August 2011 – Daily Mail
Scientists have developed a new type of scanner that is claimed to be more effective at detecting breast cancer than conventional mammograms.
The new machine finds tumours in the breast without the need for radiation by using infra red beams and thermal energy.
In a major trial of more than 2,500 people, the technology was found to be 92 per cent effective at detecting breast cancer in women compared to just 80 per cent for traditional mammograms that use X-rays.
Results of the study are due to be published soon in the leading medical journal Radiology.
Trials – involving another 2,500 women – are expected to take place next year at a major London teaching hospital and major hospitals in Barcelona and Paris.
The current method: A mammogram uses X-rays to detect breast tumours
Scientists at Real Imaging – the Israeli inventors -have discovered that women with breast cancer produce different signals on the surface of their skin which is detected by the machine without coming into contact with the breast.
The device is also set to get an official EU seal of approval by the end of the year allowing it to be used in the UK.
Two wealthy British billionaire businessmen, David and Simon Reuben, have invested £11 million in the company after a close member of their family developed breast cancer.
The company claims the new technology has a major plus that allows detection of cancer in younger women who generally have denser breasts.
There is a growing pressure for the UK national breast cancer screening programme to include women under 50. But one drawback is x ray mammography. Compared to older women it is not as effective at detecting cancer in younger women where cancer is on the increase.
The new machine – which was tested at major university hospitals in Israel -was found to be as effective at finding cancers in younger woman as older women.
Dr Eugene Libson, a radiologist at the Hadassah University Medical Centre in Jerusalem said: ‘Mammography is an old fashioned technology which requires examination of x rays by the naked eye.
‘And we know that it is not as good at finding cancers in women under 50 who, it could be argued, should be offered screening.’
In recent years the breast screening service in the UK has been hit by a number of scandals where radiologists have not read mamograms correctly and missed cancer in some women.
Dr Libson added: ‘The new scanner is extremely hi tech and doesn’t require a human to be accurate. You get a result on a screen and there is no peering at x ray films to try and find a tumour.’
Real Imaging expects the machine to be used initially alongside mammogram machines as a back up technology but believe it could one day replace the mammogram completely.
Professor Kefah Mokbel, a breast specialist at London’s St George’s Hospital, said: ‘It’s an interesting technology and there is certainly a need for other methods than mammogram machines. I would see it being used for moment with mammography because it could very well detect a cancer not seen on conventional secreening.