New ultrasound technology can accurately spot prostate cancer tumours

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Washington, Dec 9 (ANI): A team of researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology, in co-operation with AMC Amsterdam, has developed an imaging technology based on ultrasound that can accurately identify cancerous tumours in the prostate.

And they say they have had great success in the four patients on whom they have tested it. The results can lead to better and more appropriate treatment, and to cost savings in health care.

Currently, prostate cancer diagnosis is still rudimentary. After determining the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level in the blood, biopsies are performed to determine whether there are tumours in the prostate.

However, the PSA level is not a very good indicator - two-thirds of all biopsies turn out to have been unnecessary.

In the new technique, microbubbles of a contrast agent are injected into the blood vessels of the prostate.

Since the pattern of the blood vessels found in tumours is different from that in healthy tissue, the researchers can then recognise the pattern from an advanced analysis of the bubble concentrations using ultrasound.

And because tumours need blood - and hence new blood vessels - to grow, they also expect to be able to determine how aggressive any cancer is.

The technology has been tested on four patients from whom the affected prostate was removed, said Dr Massimo Mischi of the Eindhoven University of Technology Department of Electrical Engineering.

The location and size of the tumours accurately matched the images produced using the new technique.

Next year, the research team will carry out a pilot with biopsies guided by images made using the new technology. This allows the biopsies to be targeted, and therefore more effective. (ANI)

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