ORONO- A new technological milestone in detecting breast cancer was made at the University of Maine.
The school has received a patent for technology that helps in the early detection of breast cancer.
The technology’s co-inventor, Associate Professor Andre Khalil, said there’s two types of breast tissue, fatty tissue and dense tissue.
The ratio of those tissues is a risk factor for women who may develop breast cancer.
However, he said there is a third type of tissue called disruptive tissue that is a possible sign of cancer — and up until now, there had not been any technology that identified that third type of tissue.
“The patent is related to a technique where we are using algorithms on computers and the tool is able to look at spacial organization in an image and therefore it’s able to tell us if it’s dense, is it fatty or is it disruptive zone,” Khalil said.
Now that the university has the patent, he said there’s more work to be done before the technology is ready to save lives.
“There’s a lot of work to do, lots of data and thousands of mammograms that we need to look at. Then we can go to clinical trials if all of that is successful and then we need to get the FDA approval so that we can have software that we can give out to radiologists,” Khalil said.
He said the goal is to one day allow doctors to take a predictive and proactive approach to treatment — in hopes of preventing breast cancer.