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BYU and University of Utah to develop new breast cancer imaging technique

Brigham Young University (BYU) and University of Utah have jointly created a new MRI device, which could improve both the process and accuracy of breast cancer screening by scanning for sodium levels in the breast.

The new MDI device produces five-times more accurate images than previous efforts with the sodium MRI methodology.

The device has the potential to reduce false positives and possibly reduce the need for invasive biopsies.

The BYU-Utah research team is led by BYU electrical engineer Neal Bangerter and University of Utah collaborators Rock Hadley and Joshua Kaggie.

"The images we’re obtaining show a substantial improvement over anything that we’ve seen using this particular MRI technique for breast cancer imaging," Bangerter added.

Bangerter and his team developed a new device used for sodium imaging that is picking up a level of detail and structure not previously achieved and they believe that the addition of sodium MRI to a breast cancer screening exam could provide important additional diagnostic information that will cut down on false positives.

As of now, the new breast cancer screening technique returns high-quality images in only 20 minutes.

The team is aiming at producing a device that is able to obtain both excellent sodium and good proton images without requiring the patient being screened to be repositioned for multiple scans.