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SPIE marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a salute to researchers and clinicians

13 October 2010

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- October is observed around the world as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.Breast Cancer Awareness Month SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, salutes all those working toward a cure, in particular those whose work in the science and application of light has helped improved detection and treatment of the disease.

Breast cancer is among the most common and life-threatening cancers worldwide, and early detection has been important in raising the rate of recovery.

Researchers presenting papers at SPIE events in technologies such as optical tomography, photoacoustic imaging, and confocal microscopy continue to make significant advances in capturing increasingly accurate pictures of tissues inside the body, to aid both detection and treatment. As a result, cancerous or precancerous tissues are being identified earlier, and treatments are becoming more targeted and effective.

Advances in nanotechnology have improved the ability to track and treat cancer cells, including using nanoparticles to deliver drugs directly to targeted cells while avoiding nearby healthy tissues.

Each year, SPIE Photonics West and SPIE Medical Imaging assemble international experts whose work advances cancer detection and treatment, and SPIE Optics and Photonics convenes the largest nanotechnology and nanoengineering research symposium in the world. Every two years, researchers present at the SPIE/OSA European Conferences on Biomedical Optics.

In particular, a conference on Optical Tomography and Spectroscopy of Tissue in the Biomedical Optics (BiOS) symposium at Photonics West has several sessions on breast cancer imaging and therapies.

Breast tissue image obtained using an optimized tungsten collimator

At Photonics West, developers of new instruments and devices for cancer detection are among the companies showing their latest tools and systems. The exhibition also provides researchers with the opportunity to talk with developers about ideas for future applications of emerging technologies.

New research is published in the SPIE Digital Library, containing more than 300,000 journal articles and conference proceedings papers, and the SPIE Newsroom, with more than 400 original researcher-authored papers added annually -- among them an article published last month on  "Reducing the radiation dose in molecular breast imaging."

A monograph titled Recent Advances in Breast Imaging, Mammography, and Computer-Aided Diagnosis of Breast Cancer"Recent Advances in Breast Imaging ..." is among expert-authored and -edited books published by the SPIE Press.

Additional information on breast cancer is provided online by several organizations, among them:

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 180,000 constituents from 168 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific, and supports scholarships, grants, and other education programs around the world.

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