This proposal addresses the discovery and applied research for technological innovations to improve human health, with a focus on a technique based on cellular hyperthermia for early detection of breast cancer and monitoring via a miniaturized body-centric radiometer. There are several conventional techniques to screen for breast cancer today, but they each have limitations such as producing false positive results and causing pain and discomfort to the patients. Their bottlenecks suggest that there is a need for the development of alternative techniques and approaches for detecting and monitoring breast cancer. Therefore, our technical goal of the proposed work is to develop an alternative technique based on cellular hyperthermia for early detection of breast cancer and monitoring. We hypothesize that the temperature within the breast will rise as the malignant cells divide and multiply, and these temperature changes can be used for early detection and monitoring of breast cancer via a miniaturized body-centric radiometer. This proposal aims to contribute to the breast cancer detection and monitoring research in several different ways. Breast phantoms have been used in cancer research, but fabrication of a realistic phantom that mimics the electrical properties of the real breast has never been attempted. In addition, we will investigate various frequencies and antenna topologies for radiometer sensor. This study is significant because it reveals previously nonexistent information on the design of antenna sensors for early detection of breast cancer. Once the phantoms and antenna sensors are developed, we will collect the deep tissue temperature data. From this, we anticipate detecting early stages of cancer (~5mm in diameter). Once diagnosed, the miniaturized radiometer will be used to monitor the cancer's activity. Eventually, these research findings can be used in other cancer research monitoring. Our long term goal is to fabricate a breast cancer specific radiometer and test the device on human subjects. Our research team is uniquely qualified to perform the proposed research. The PI, Prof. Erdem Topsakal at Mississippi State University has over 15 years of research experience in bioelectromagnetics, medical antenna design and applied electromagnetics. Prof. Donna Lynn, MD from University of South Alabama Medical School has over 25 years of experience in breast cancer treatment and surgery. She will play an advisory role to assist Dr. Topsakal during the realistic breast phantom development and to assess the radiometric data. This project will train graduate and undergraduate students in Dr. Topsakal's laboratory.
We aim to design and fabricate realistic breast phantoms and antennas for radiometers to detect early stages of ductal and lobular carcinoma. Once diagnosed, the radiometer will be used to monitor the cancer's activity. Such a device will potentially affect the 1 in 8 women who are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer within their lifetime.