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Earlier diagnosis of breast cancer made possible by new technology

Earlier diagnosis of breast cancer made possible by new technology
Sheba Medical Center is currently overseeing a study employing new technology for breast cancer imaging developed by a start-up company in Israel, Real Imaging.

Known as 3D Metabolic Imaging and Risk Assessment (3D MIRA), this technology uses novel optical imaging to detect metabolic activity in the breast. 3D MIRA is completely non-invasive, extremely comfortable, and uses no ionizing radiation. It uses machine learning programming to analyze infrared breast images and calculate an objective breast cancer risk assessment.

The 3D MIRA diagnostic test takes place in a room equipped with a specialized camera. The test lasts for 15-20 minutes. After a single scan is performed, the patient dons cold gloves for one minute. Then, another scan is performed. The cold gloves cause the blood vessels in normal breast tissue to contract. However, abnormal blood vessels in a tumor will remain the same size. The 3D MIRA scans for this lack of blood vessel reaction as an indication for cancer.

Dr. Miri Sklair-Levy, head of the Breast Imaging Unit at the Meirav Breast Center: “The purpose of the study is to determine whether this technology will allow us to evaluate for the presence of pathology. 3D MIRA is used today as an addition to traditional diagnostic methods: mammography/ultrasound/MRI/biopsy. 3D MIRA is performed before the other screenings to prevent any possible influence on body temperature. In the study, 355 healthy women were tested, several cases of cancer were discovered, and when the results of the 3D MIRA were compared to those of mammography/ultrasound/biopsy, they showed 90% sensitivity and about 85% specificity. In fact, the 3D MIRA even detected small tumors of approximately 7 mm.”

Intended for use as a breast cancer screening tool, 3D MIRA does not have the shortcomings of other tests. For example, it is highly useful for women in whom screening mammography is sub-optimal, such as women with dense breast tissue where mammography shows less than 50% sensitivity. 3D MIRA is not affected by breast density. Therefore, it is ideal for the evaluation of patients with dense breasts.

Dr. Sklair-Levy: “Eventually, we hope to make use of the 3D MIRA technology to effectively evaluate patients in cases when it’s preferable to avoid radiation imaging. It could also be used as a primary evaluation, only proceeding to more invasive tests if the 3D MIRA results indicate a need. The patients can safely go through this test as many times as needed since there is no radiation involved.”

The test is conducted for free and is offered to every woman who arrives at Meirav Breast Center for her breast cancer screening. The current study population is comprised of women age 30 years and older, not pregnant, not breastfeeding, and who haven’t undergone a biopsy in the last 45 days. The study is offered to women who have had suspicious findings on a recent breast exam.

Earlier diagnosis of breast cancer made possible by new technology

The Meirav Breast Center at Sheba Medical Center treats more breast cancer patients than any other cancer center in Israel. It provides multidisciplinary and comprehensive treatments and tests, including support services like genetic and nutritional counseling. Additionally, patients are offered endocrinological, rehabilitative, and psychosocial support.

Our researchers are continually exploring all aspects of breast cancer and coming up with new methods of detection at the earliest, most treatable stages. We are also proud to participate in many promising clinical trials within Israel and internationally. Our approach is to provide comprehensive treatment of breast cancer, from early detection to rehabilitation.

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