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Breast cancer study uses MR contrast agent

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MR isn’t widely used for breast cancer diagnosis, but finding a contrast agent that images lesions and other suspicious growths easily may be the breakthrough clinicians need to begin using the platform to detect breast cancers.Hitachi Medical

MR isn’t widely used for breast cancer diagnosis, but finding a contrast agent that images lesions and other suspicious growths easily may be the breakthrough clinicians need to begin using the platform to detect breast cancers.

Hitachi Medical Systems and Epix Medical studied the use of contrast agent AngioMARK employed with a low-field MR. Cambridge, MA-based Epix develops contrast agents designed to work with MR imaging.

AngioMARK and the study’s findings will be discussed April 5 at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting in San Francisco.

“AngioMARK-enhanced MRI provides high-quality images, which may be useful for very early detection of breast tumors,” said Michael Webb, Epix Medical’s CEO.

Webb noted that there are some advantages to using MR with a contrast agent to detect breast cancer. For example, using an open, low-field MR system to detect breast lesions early on in high-risk patients may be less expensive for the hospital and more comfortable for the patient than a closed high-field MR system.

The combination of AngioMARK and open MR scanners accurately detected small breast cancers not easily seen through traditional mammography because the contrast agent has a strong signal enhancement and prolonged imaging time, said Dr. Steven Edell, medical director of Delaware Open MRI and one of the study’s principal investigators.

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