Breast CAncer REsearch at UNC
Interim President, The Medical Foundation of NC, Inc
Director of External Affairs, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
This past year the Chapel Hill Breast Cancer Foundation donated $15,551.21 to UNC Lineberger to support innovative research at the UNC Breast Center – bringing the twelve year total to almost $160,000! We are grateful to this passionate group of volunteers for continuing to host this very successful annual event.
This year’s grant was used to support Yueh Lee, MD, PhD. Just as digital technologies and the use of visuals continue to evolve in everyday use, digital imaging in clinical and translational research is also advancing. Dr. Lee is exploring ways to use digital imaging to improve treatment and detection of cancer. Specifically, the funds from the Chapel Hill Breast Cancer Foundation supported his project titled “Comparison of stationary digital breast tomosynthesis and 2-D digital mammography in patients with known breast lesions.”
Dr. Lee and his colleagues Dr. Cherie Kuzmiak and Dr. Otto Zhou are working to develop a new x-ray imaging system that will help improve the early detection of breast cancer. Mammography is now the most effective screening and diagnostic tool for early detection of breast cancer, but the current two-view mammography method lacks sensitivity and has a very high false alarm rate. X-ray digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) is an emerging technique for producing multi-slice images to provide depth resolution and improved contrast. It has the potential to allow radiologists to see tumors at an early stage even in very dense breasts using a similar dose as the common two-view mammography. It is generally expected that DBT scanners will replace a large fraction of conventional mammography systems in the coming years, but current models require long scanning time which can lead to patient discomfort, blurry images and other problems.
This group is working to develop the next generation DBT scanner with significantly improved system performance at potentially reduced dose and cost. This proposed device is based on new carbon nanotube (CNT) multi-pixel field emission x-ray (MBFEX) technology. The pixilated and spatially distributed MBFEX source can generate x-ray radiation from multiple views without any mechanical motion of the source, detector, or object. This innovative feature can increase the imaging speed, reduce the size and cost of the equipment, and enable experimentations on new imaging configurations that could give better imaging quality and potentially reduce imaging dose, but that are not feasible with conventional DBT models.
The aim of this research is to perform a pilot clinical imaging study of patients undergoing needle localization surgical biopsies for known breast lesions to compare the 3D s-DBT with the conventional 2-D digital mammography, the current gold standard, and to determine whether the 3-D images compared to the 2-D images will improve the Receiver Operating Characteristic curves. This will represent the first human clinical study with this device.
Dr Lee is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Radiology and an adjunct assistant professor at the Department of Physics. Dr, Lee concentrates on translational imaging research and has been a key member of the nanotube x-ray development team led by Dr Zhou at UNC since its infancy. Drs. Lee and Kuzmiak are leading the ongoing IRB approved specimen study using the new tomosynthesis technology.
Where your donations go
100% of the funds donated to the Chapel Hill Breast Cancer Foundation go directly to supporting discovery phase breast cancer research projects at Duke, UNC and Wake Forest Universities.
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