New breast cancer technology burns away tumors

Reporter: Amy Oshier Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

Just in time for breast cancer awareness month, scientists are exploring a technology that can kill some breast tumors without patients having to go under the knife.

This breakthrough promises to reshape the future of breast cancer treatment.

It’s called the Muse Magnetic Resonance-Guided Focused Ultrasound System, and it could redefine the way we fight breast cancer.

Like something out of a sci-fi movie, it uses the power of MRI to hunt down a breast tumor and burn it away with high-intensity focused ultrasound. It effectively cooks the cancer without affecting the tissue and organs around it.

“And one of the things that is a challenge in breast cancer is that the tumors often have little arms or little tendrils that come out from them,” said Dr. Cindy Matsen, from Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah.

This technology centers around a special table developed to help patients feel comfortable being in the MRI machine for a couple of hours. That’s how long it takes the device to deliver ultrasound waves straight into the tumor, concentrating the energy into a point as tiny as a grain of rice.

“MRI is, actually, our most sensitive test for looking at breast tissue, so it gives us the advantage of being able to target tumors more accurately and precisely,” Matsen said.

It’s an outpatient procedure, and the patient is awake the entire time.

The Muse System is currently in clinical trials but researchers hope it will only be a few years until this technology is available to replace surgery for some breast cancer patients.

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