BER Researchers Develop a “Smart Probe” for Early Breast Cancer Detection


Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have partnered with San Jose-based BioLuminate, Inc. to develop “Smart Probe,” a tool for earlier, more accurate breast cancer detection. The instrument removes no tissue and is expected to achieve accuracy levels comparable to surgical biopsies in detecting cancerous cells. The probe looks for multiple known indicators of breast cancer, instantaneously providing physicians with information they can use to determine whether more invasive and costly tests are necessary. The results of the “Smart Probe” procedure are immediately available to patients, helping relieve anxiety. Once a mammogram or physical exam has detected a possible malignant lump, “Smart Probe,” which is smaller than a needle, is inserted into the tissue and guided to the suspicious region. Sensors on the tip of the probe measure optical, electrical, and chemical properties that are known to differ between healthy and cancerous tissues. The “Smart Probe” can detect multiple (5 to 7) known indicators of breast cancer. Tissue measurements are made in real time in both normal and suspect tissue.