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Scientists Propose MRI Scanning Waist Belt for Breast Cancer Detection

Scientists Propose MRI Scanning Waist Belt for Breast Cancer Detection

A research team is developing a vest integrated with radio coils, for early detection of breast cancer

The most pressing problem among cancer patients, is that often times the cancer is detected too late for conventional treatment methods to have an effect on it. As technology is moving forward at a breakneck speed, scientists and biotechnologists have joined hands to devise methods to detect cancer as early as possible, which could reduce the high mortality rate among cancer patients. One of these recent developments, is a waist coat, equipped with flexible radio frequency coils, and the makers project the device will have much higher efficiency in detecting cancer.

A combined group of researchers from Vienna and France, with assistance from the Austrian Science Fund, have made considerable progress with the technology. Current MRI machines, although more efficient than X-ray detection methods, have shortcomings such as high operation costs, and the overall procedure is quite lengthy. However, MRI scans offer high resolution imagery, which has prompted the research group to make the process easier and quicker. The waistcoat is equipped with 32 radio frequency coils, which have been tactically sewn into it. These coils are connected to a radio receiver via a combination of co-axial cables.

Existing MRI techniques do not account for breathing movements or women of varying sizes as the MRI machine comes in a standard size. The MRI waistcoat, on the other hand, also houses a bunch of motion sensors that eliminate distortions caused by breathing movements.

"In our case, the woman lies face up and the coils should be flexible enough to be put on like a waistcoat, an essential aspect of the project is that lying on the back results in the breast being flattened, which means a much larger part of it is close to the receiver. In this way, the signal is stronger and the measuring time can be shortened” believes Elmar Laistler from the Medical University of Vienna, member of the research team.