New Device May Detect Breast Cancer With Electrical Currents, Not Radiation

The diagnostic tool widens the age group of individuals who can get tested and can be used in conjunction with a mammogram.

A new painless and safe diagnostic tool for detecting breast cancer can widen the age group of individuals who can get tested.

The devices use a low electrical current instead of radiation and proved to be 70% effective at predicting whether an individual had cancer and 75% effective and determining if a patient did not have cancer

“We suspect that the immune response is triggered in a person with cancer and produces lymphatic interstitial fluid that is less electrically conductive,” Benjamin Sanchez-Terrones, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Utah and developer of the diagnostic device, said in a statement.

His research is based on the belief that cancer can cause an individual’s lymphatic interstitial fluid to change because of the increased presence of white blood cells and other physiological changes that happen to fight off tumors.

The patient holds the first electrode while the physician touches different parts of the body with a handheld probe containing a second electrode. A painless electric current will run from the second electrode to the first. Physicians may do this as many as 40 times, and the procedure takes less than 30 minutes to complete.

Measures of the individual’s conductivity are taken with each touch, and an algorithm analyzes the data points to calculate the likelihood of cancer in the body.

The early clinical study included of 24 women who had malignant breast cancer, and 23 had benign lesions.

This can be an additional diagnostic tool for women who are advised not to get a mammogram because of their age or breast density. It can be used repeatedly on women of any age and is designed to be used in conjunction with a mammogram to provide an even more accurate overall diagnosis.

The procedure can also be used on individuals undergoing breast cancer treatment to help determine if the therapy is working.

The findings of his research were published in IEEE Access.

Reference

Diagnosing breast cancer. EurekAlert. News release. November 30, 2021. Accessed November 30, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/936312