Particles were used as ultrasound contrast markers to help correctly locate an entire tumor for removal or destruction during a breast lumpectomy

A new method for removing breast cancer tumors uses ultrasound technology to better locate the exact placement of the tumor -- thus allowing a more complete removal of the cancerous tissue.
Researchers at the University of California - San Diego (UCSD), led by PhD graduate student Alex Liberman and his advisor Andrew Kummel, PhD, have used particles as ultrasound contrast markers to help correctly locate an entire tumor for removal or destruction during a breast lumpectomy. 
A breast lumpectomy is when a tumor is removed, but the breast is conserved (unlike a full mastectomy, where the entire breast is removed as well). However, this is a difficult process that often requires a second surgery in order to remove or destroy the entire tumor. Doctors use wires that are stuck into the breast to locate the tumor, but this isn't very accurate because the wires move easily. 
But with the new ultrasound method developed by the UCSD team, the chances of needing a second surgery could be greatly reduced. The new technique uses biodegradable, iron-doped silica micro/nano spheres that are implanted into the body. Using ultrasound during a lumpectomy, researchers are guided by the particles to where the entire tumor is located. The particles stick to the tumor once injected and make it more visible. This offers a more accurate incision and complete removal of the tumor.
Also, the particles can destroy the tumor with the use of high intensity focused ultrasound ablative therapy. 
"We are using these particles for two applications," said Kummel. "In the short term we are injecting them into breast tumors to enable surgeons to halve the number of second surgeries by readily locating the tumors in the operating room with low-power ultrasound imaging. In the long term, we want to inject the particles intravenously, have them stick to the tumors, and then ablate the tumors by blowing up the particles with high intensity focus ultrasound which is called HIFU."
With breast tumors marked accurately, the number of second surgeries needed can be reduced by 50 percent. 

Source: Eurekalert

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