MIT Researchers Develop Portable Ultrasound Patch for Early Breast Cancer Detection
Breast cancer is a dangerous disease that affects millions of women worldwide. In an effort to combat this deadly illness, researchers at MIT have developed a groundbreaking technology – a portable ultrasound patch that can detect breast cancer at its early stages. The cUSBr-Patch, as it is called, is a flexible device that can be conveniently attached to a bra, allowing users to move an ultrasound tracker along the patch and obtain detailed images of breast tissue from various angles.
The main objective of this innovation is to improve the overall survival rate of breast cancer patients by enabling early detection and diagnosis. According to Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the MIT School of Engineering and one of the study’s authors, This technology provides critical capability in the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer, which is key to a positive outcome.
The inspiration for this project came from Canan Dagdeviren, associate professor at the MIT Media Lab, whose late aunt was diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer despite regular checkups. Dagdeviren envisioned a diagnostic device that could be attached to a bra, allowing high-risk individuals to be tested more frequently. Her goal is to focus on people most likely to develop interval cancer, which refers to breast tumors that develop between scheduled mammograms and are often more aggressive.
The cUSBr-Patch is designed to be a comfortable and non-invasive method for the early detection and monitoring of breast cancer. The device consists of a honeycomb-patterned patch with open spaces that allow the ultrasound tracker to move through, maximizing the field of vision. The tracker is attached to a 1D array, which is responsible for obtaining ultrasound images for continuous and long-term monitoring. The patient simply needs to wear the specially designed bra and patch, and the breast tissue can be scanned at various predetermined points. The ultrasound images are then recorded and displayed on a screen for further examination.
What sets the cUSBr-Patch apart is its potential to make frequent monitoring and follow-up easier. Unlike traditional mammograms that are typically performed annually or biannually, this portable ultrasound patch enables more frequent checks. Continuous monitoring allows for the detection of any changes in breast tissue over time, ensuring prompt action if any abnormalities are observed.
Additionally, the cUSBr-Patch reduces concerns about radiation exposure. Unlike mammograms that use X-rays and involve ionizing radiation, ultrasound technology is safe for long-term and repeated use as it doesn’t expose the patient to harmful radiation. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with dense breast tissue or those at higher risk due to family history.
Integrating the cUSBr-Patch with digital health platforms and utilizing artificial intelligence algorithms could provide a personalized approach to breast health management. Data collected from the patch can be analyzed to identify trends or changes that may require medical attention. This not only empowers individuals to take control of their breast health but also reduces anxiety associated with waiting for mammogram results or undergoing invasive procedures.
The potential of the cUSBr-Patch is significant in reducing breast cancer deaths through early detection and better follow-up. With more frequent examinations, the goal is to increase the survival rate to an impressive 98%.
In conclusion, the MIT researchers‘ development of the portable ultrasound patch brings hope to women in their fight against breast cancer. By providing a comfortable and convenient method for early detection and monitoring, this technology has the potential to save lives and improve the overall well-being of breast cancer patients. With further advancements and integration with digital health platforms, the cUSBr-Patch could revolutionize breast health management and contribute to a future where breast cancer is diagnosed and treated more effectively.