4 Technologies Being Used To Combat Cancer

High-resolution microendoscopy

Early detection in cancer patients is crucial to combating cancer and eliminating it completely. According to CNBC Africa, the African Cancer Institute (ACI) has been working on a high-resolution microendoscope prototype which detects cancerous cells at an early stage by providing subcellular images of the oesophageal epithelium. This new technology is said to reduce medical costs as it is a much quicker procedure than regular pathological tests.

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A high-resolution microendoscope.


Mammosphere is non-profit cloud storage initiative started by an American radiologist in Jacksonville, which aims to allow users to store all their mammogram images in the cloud. This will allow users to have their mammogram images readily available when seeing different doctors, and avoids patients from having to order further mammograms.


Dr Kathryn Pearson-Peyton, founder of Mammosphere.

3D mammograms / digital tomosynthesis

Digital tomosynthesis is an alternative imaging technique which combines multiple x-rays from a number of angles to create a 3D reconstruction of an object. Tomosynthesis is increasingly being used in mammography as it is 40% more effective in detecting invasive cancers than traditional mammograms. Tomosynthesis also requires a lower dose of radiation than traditional mammograms, and once it becomes more widespread, a 3D mammogram is expected to be cheaper than a normal mammogram.


A digital reconstruction of a 3D mammogram (Picture: Achieving Quality Imaging).


IGAR technology

An IGAR is an image-guided autonomous robot and is primarily used for performing maintenance on the International Space Station. Radiologists in Canada, however, have begun trialling IGAR technology in conjunction with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a means of detecting and operating on cancerous breast lesions. According to Dr Mehran Anvari, CEO at the Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation (Csii), the automated robot “is capable of placing the biopsy and ablation tools within 1mm of the lesion.” Benefits of IGAR technology include reduced morbidity and pain, cost savings for hospitals and improved sampling.


An IGAR prototype.

Sources: CNBC Africa, NASA, Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation, AQI, Mammosphere

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