Breast cancer researchers get exciting new tool

Feb 07, 2011

Mammograms still the best diagnostic tool, but new options could be coming

A revolutionary "lab on a chip" developed by scientists at Purdue University could allow for the development of new nano-medical techniques to help fight breast cancer.

The model precisely simulates the mammary duct system present in the human breast, making it possible to test the efficacy of treatments which target and destroy cancerous cells, according to the researchers.

One of the team's leaders, Sophie Lelievre, said the new model was an important advance in the development of breast cancer cures.

"We've known that the best way to detect this cancer early and treat it effectively would be to get inside the mammary ducts to evaluate and treat the cells directly, and this is the first step in that direction," she said.

Additionally, the micro-lab could aid in the creation of highlighter chemicals, which detect tumors early. More testing is still needed, however, to ensure the system works under real-world conditions, the researchers said.

Advances in cancer treatment could improve life expectancy across a wide swath of the American public, potentially leading to lower health and life insurance rates.

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