Sept. 2 - Israeli researchers have developed a new form of breast imaging technology they hope will one day replace conventional mammography to detect breast cancer. Instead of using low energy X-rays to find signs of the disease, the new technique employs infra red technology. Jim Drury reports.
: The mammogram has long been the test of choice for doctors examining women for signs of breast cancer. The test has a high detection rate, but many women find the procedure uncomfortable and are sometimes left bruised. Researchers for Israeli company Real Imaging believe they've developed a painless alternative, using infra-red imaging. Doctor Dhavid Izhaky is Real Imaging's vice president of research. SOUNDBITE (English) DOCTOR DAVID IZHAKY, VICE PRESIDENT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AT 'REAL IMAGING', SAYING: "Our system provides highest sensitivity for detection of breast cancer, it doesn't involve any ionising radiation, it's very comfort(able) - we do not apply any pressure on the breast and (it) is applicable for women with dense breasts". Researchers say the system shows instant thermal signals emitted by cancerous cells. Izhaky says results can be analysed and diagnosed immediately without the need for x-rays or professional interpretation. SOUNDBITE (English) DOCTOR DAVID IZHAKY, VICE PRESIDENT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AT 'REAL IMAGING', SAYING: "We acquire three dimensional infra red imaging from the woman and the uniqueness of our system and the novelty is by providing automatic risk assessment. We do not require the radiologist to diagnose and interpret the images. The system does it automatically". Electro-optical engineer Boaz Arnon pioneered the system after his mother died of breast cancer seven years ago. SOUNDBITE (English) FOUNDER AND CEO OF REAL, IMAGING BOAZ ARNON, SAYING: "After several clinical trials, including multi centre clinical trials, we imaged more than 25 hundred patients in the last five years. We have a solution which is accurate, our sensitivity is higher than 90 percent for all ages, not just above 40 or above 50, including all ages, without radiation and the solution is ready". Clinical trials have been undertaken in six medical centres across the country. Dr Miri Sklar-Levy ran one of the trials at the Sheba medical centre in central Israel. SOUNDBITE (English) HEAD OF BREAST IMAGING UNIT AT SHEBA MEDICAL HOSPITAL, DOCTOR MIRI SKLAR-LEVY, SAYING: "We have just concluded our blinded study of almost one hundred woman and the accuracy or the sensitivity was 92 percent with a specificity of 72 percent which is much above the results that we have with mammography." Trials in Europe and the US are planned for next year. If successful, Real Imaging hopes to provide a simple and pain-free alternative for breast cancer testing and encourage more women to have regular check-ups. Jim Drury, Reuters