Tag Archives: breast cancer

Detection of cancer and PTSD

By 2020, multiple sites worldwide will be trialing a non-invasive test for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The machine can determine if soldiers and emergency workers are prone to the disorder, and if so, they may be rested and not immediately deployed again.

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New tool for better breast cancer detection

Queensland scientists are helping radiologists to spot the more subtle signs of breast cancer, using computer tools and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Photo: Contrast-enhanced MRI of a breast. Credit: Yaniv Gal
Photo: Contrast-enhanced MRI of a breast. Credit: Yaniv Gal

Currently MRI allows radiologists to detect lumps or other growths by creating a 3D anatomical image of the breast.

Prof Stuart Crozier and his team at the University of Queensland have developed a computer tool that improves MRI detection by spotting more subtle indicators of cancer.

“When cancers are just starting to form, they form abnormal blood vessels very early, to feed their rapid cell division,” Stuart says.

“By seeing how certain contrast agents move through the tissue, we can pick up the formation of these blood vessels.”

Photo: Research Assistant Michael Wildermoth works with the software that shows how certain contrast agents move through breast tissue. Credit: Kim Nunes
Photo: Research Assistant Michael Wildermoth works with the software that shows how certain contrast agents move through breast tissue. Credit: Kim Nunes

This works towards solving two issues with conventional MRIs.

First, it should reduce the number of false positive results and therefore the number of women put through biopsies of benign tumours.

Second, this should catch tumours earlier, not just when tumours are big enough to discern visually.

“The goal is to assist radiologists to identify areas of cancer risk that may not be obvious on conventional images,” Stuart says.

Stuart, a Fellow of the Australian Academy for Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), was recently presented with a 2012 Clunies Ross Award for his contributions to the engineering of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology.

The research, funded as an Australian Research Council’s Discovery Project, is now undergoing trials with 140 women at private radiology firm Queensland X-ray.

Photo: Contrast-enhanced MRI of a breast.
Credit: Yaniv Gal
Photo: Research Assistant Michael Wildermoth works with the software that shows how certain contrast agents move through breast tissue.
Credit: Kim Nunes

University of Queensland, Stuart Crozier, stuart@itee.uq.edu.au, www.itee.uq.edu.au

How does breast cancer start?

Marie-Liesse Asselin-Labat

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research

Most women in Australia who have breast cancer recover.  But many then relapse years later.

Rowena Martin, The Australian National University, Canberra/The University of Melbourne (credit: L’Oréal Australia/sdpmedia.com.au)
Rowena Martin, The Australian National University, Canberra/The University of Melbourne (credit: L’Oréal Australia/sdpmedia.com.au)

Marie-Liesse Asselin-Labat wants to know why.  If she can solve this mystery, her work will open up opportunities for new drugs and treatments. Her achievements to date suggest that she is well placed to succeed.

In 2006 she was part of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research team that received global attention for its discovery of breast stem cells – a significant step in understanding how breast cancer starts. Marie-Liesse built on this finding with a series of papers exploring how these cells develop and are influenced by oestrogen and other steroids. Continue reading How does breast cancer start?

Tiny particles could assist in breast cancer screening

These optically barcoded nanoparticles could transform cancer diagnosis.
These optically barcoded nanoparticles could transform cancer diagnosis.

Blood tests using nanoparticles carrying molecules which can detect breast cancer biomarkers could save millions of lives and open the way to mass screening for many cancers.

Prof. Matt Trau, of the Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology at the University of Queensland, and his team are using a combination of nanotechnology and molecular biology in the project, funded by a five-year $5 million grant from the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

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Breast reconstruction using your own cells

A new approach to breast reconstruction
A new approach to breast reconstruction

Researchers in Melbourne will trial a new procedure to reconstruct breasts in patients following mastectomy. The procedure will use the women’s own stem cells instead of silicon.

Focusing on the treatment and recovery of women with breast cancer, the new technique known as Neopec involves the insertion of a customised biodegradable chamber which is contoured to match the woman’s natural breast shape. The chamber acts as a scaffold within which the woman’s own stem cells are used to grow permanent breast fat tissue.

Continue reading Breast reconstruction using your own cells