Evaluating a novel approach to detecting breast cancer
In partnership with Newcastle Hospitals and University College London, we are supporting the evaluation of Kromek’s low-dose molecular breast imaging technology.
Breast screening in women aged 50-70 was introduced in the UK almost 30 years ago in order to detect cancer at an early stage so patients can access treatments more quickly and have a higher likelihood of survival. The traditional mammography technique relies on a difference between the density of the potential tumour and the surrounding normal breast tissue. However, 10-40% of women have relatively high breast density making any changes more difficult to detect.
Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) uses a specialised camera and an injected radioactive tracer that “lights up” areas of cancer in the breast and is effective even in dense breast tissue. Past research has suggested that the cancer detection rate with MBI is 12.0 cases per 1,000 screened, compared with 3.2 cases with mammography alone. However, traditional MBI techniques involve a much greater exposure to radiation than mammograms.
Kromek is developing a new detector which hopes to use a lower dose of radiation. The new technology aims to provide effective cancer detection with eight times less radiation than existing MBI technology. In January 2023 Kromek was awarded £2.5M from Innovate UK for two research programmes to further develop this technology.
The first project is designed to prove the feasibility of using Kromek’s MBI technology. This 18-month project, worth £0.5M, is to be carried out solely by Kromek. The second project, worth £2.0M, is a three-year programme to obtain and deliver clinical data on a low-dose MBI system, based on testing at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary. The project is being conducted in partnership with Newcastle Hospitals, Newcastle University and University College London. Dr Clare Lendrem, Dr Kile Green and Dr Cameron Williams from the NIHR Newcastle MIC will provide guidance and methodological support for the project including input into the design and methods for the: statistical analysis of the clinical study, qualitative study and health economic study.
These two awards represent further commitment by Innovate UK and the partners to develop the low-dose MBI solution following successful completion of a £1.9M funded project.
Follow the links below to read more about the project: