New seed localization technology allows better visualization and treatment of breast cancer
TAMPA, Fla. – IntraMedical Imaging LLC, a California-based medical device company, has exclusively licensed a key patent from the University of South Florida for localizing radioactive “seeds” during the treatment of breast cancer.
Utilizing a novel method invented at USF, the radiologist, under guidance of mammography, places tiny seeds, which have low levels of radioactivity, inside the patient’s breast lump. The seeds are then tracked to guide the surgeon to the lump. Many small tumors are only detected during routine screening mammograms because they are difficult for both patients and doctors to feel.
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. For 2013 (the most recent estimates available), it was anticipated that approximately 232,340 new cases would be diagnosed and 39,620 patients would die from the disease.
The USF method was invented by Dr. Charles Cox, McCann Foundation Endowed Professor of Breast Surgery, chair of USF Breast Health, and director of the Morsani Ambulatory Surgery Center, Morsani College of Medicine, USF Heath, University of South Florida, and Dr. Emilia Dauway, who trained with Cox during her surgical oncology fellowship at USF, and is currently chief of breast surgery, Division of Surgical Oncology at Scott & White Healthcare and Texas A&M Health Science Center. The comprehensive breast cancer program at USF began in 1984 under the direction of Cox.
"Seed localization is my preferred method of localizing nonplapable breast lesions and cancers, allowing me to provide better patient care,” said Dauway. “We invented this technology to introduce a less invasive surgical option that we now know has several advantages compared to the traditional wire method."
The traditional method for localizing lesions in the breast utilized a guide wire placed with one end inside the lump and the other end of the wire protruding from the breast. Disadvantages of the wire-guided procedure include extensive and unnecessary damage to healthy breast tissue, leading to scaring, and inaccurate localization of the tumor. Wire placement also typically must be done on the day of surgery, creating potential conflicts between operating room and radiology schedules.
Seed localization allows the surgeon to more accurately plan the location of the incision providing a better surgical and cosmetic outcome, said Dauway. “Seeds cannot be accidentally dislodged, and using a more targeted approach to locating the lesion ultimately minimizes the volume of breast tissue removed and makes scheduling the procedure more convenient for the patient, radiologist and the surgeon.”
“I-125 seed localization is rapidly becoming the preferred method of intraoperative localization of occult breast tumors,” said IntraMedical Imaging founder, Dr. Farhad Daghighian. “Our Node Seeker gamma probes are uniquely capable of simultaneously detecting I-125 and Tc-99m that are being injected for sentinel node mapping. Marketing of these seeds would allow us to provide a comprehensive solution to breast surgeons.”
“Though breast cancer has become more of a survivable disease today than in the last century, it still continues to devastate our friends, mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives, many in the prime of their lives,” said Dauway. “The seed localization procedure is another example of how we in healthcare can continue to improve our methods through innovative approaches to diagnostic protocols.”
Founded in 1998, IntraMedical Imaging LLC is focused on developing and marketing nuclear medicine instruments for use during surgery and minimally invasive procedures. Node Seeker® gamma probes are being marketed for sentinel node mapping as well as radioactive seed localization simultaneously. PET-Probe® is a family of detection probes for use with PET radiotracers. The I-125 seeds would be marketed in individual sterilized packages pre-loaded in needles of various lengths under the label LesionLoc™.
About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 50 research university among both public and private institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving nearly 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.5 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.
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