October 29, 2012 -- Researchers from the University of California, San Diego have developed a method for tagging breast tumors that may reduce the need for follow-up surgery.
By implanting iron-infused biodegradable silica micro/nanospheres as contrast markers for surgical guidance during lumpectomy, the study team believes that follow-up surgeries to resect residual tumor can be reduced by as much as 50% if tumors are marked precisely.
The particles can also be used to destroy tumor tissue with high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) ablative therapy, an approach that has already been used to treat prostate cancer and uterine fibroids, the group explained.
The gas-filled nanoparticles make tumors easier to see, potentially improving surgical precision. Once injected into the breast cancer tumor, they hold fast to the tumor, making it more visible with contrast-enhanced ultrasound, according to the researchers.
The results will be presented at the AVS International Symposium and Exhibition, held October 28 through November 2 in Tampa, FL.