In an effort to address the unmet need of finding breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue, particularly for women who are also at an elevated risk of developing breast cancer, new technology is being developed in a collaboration between the University of Florida Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Virginia.
Paralleling the advance in breast cancer diagnosis resulting from the transition from two-dimensional Digital Mammography to three-dimensional Digital Breast Tomosynthesis, the scientists are working to advance two-dimensional Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) to three-dimensional Molecular Breast Tomosynthesis (MBT).
They have produced a new design for the imaging component of a Molecular Breast Imaging system that can replace the collimator on a commercially available breast imager (Dilon 6800, Dilon Technologies, Newport News, VA) and enable Molecular Breast Tomosynthesis.
The system is based on a variable angle slant hole collimator (VASH) that is made from lithographically produced tungsten plates. The plates can be computer controlled to view the breast from various angles without moving the camera and enables images of the structure in the breast to be taken from those angles.
Similar to the way one’s eyes view objects from different angles to judge distance, the various images can be used to judge the distance to the objects and a three-dimensional image reconstructed.
The results on laboratory produced breast phantoms indicate that the contrast of lesions in the breast can be increased by up to a factor of six, and could potentially allow the radiation dose to the patient to be lowered by a factor of two from the current levels while maintaining the same or better image quality.
“We have been modeling the performance of the system for a few years and were encouraged when these experimental results agreed so well with the model,” according to Dr. David Gilland from the University of Florida. “This will give us confidence in using the model to further optimize the system to achieve even better performance.”
DILON Diagnostics, a brand of DILON Technologies, Inc., designs, manufactures and commercializes medical imaging solutions worldwide. Its cornerstone product, the DILON Molecular Imaging System, is a high-resolution, compact camera for imaging small body parts, such as the breast, thyroid, parathyroid and bone. The system has been optimized to perform an imaging procedure that aids in the effective management of suspicious and difficult-to-interpret breast cases.