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Lihong Wang and Younan Xia develop new PAT technique for breast cancer

13 April 2010

A new technique by Lihong Wang and Younan Xia at Washington University in St. Louis utilizing information obtained from a new application of photoacoustic tomography (PAT) is offering new hope to breast cancer patients.

Wang is an SPIE Fellow and Editor of the Journal of Biomedical Optics, and has published more than 200 papers with SPIE. He has chaired numerous SPIE conferences, and is on the program committee for conferences at SPIE Photonics West 2011 on Optical Interactions with Tissue and Cells, Dynamics and Fluctuations in Biomedical Photonics, and Design and Performance Validation of Phantoms Used in Conjunction with Optical Measurement of Tissue.

Xia has published two dozen papers with SPIE and participated as chair and on the program committees of a dozen SPIE conferences, including the conference on Nanophotonic Materials at SPIE Optics and Photonics next August.

An article in Drug Discovery News reported that the technique involves the use of gold nanocages to map sentinel lymph nodes (SLN) in a rat noninvasively using PAT. This can minimize invasive surgical lymph node biopsy procedures to determine if breast cancer has metastasized and reduce the patient's exposure to radioactivity. The nanocages also have the potential to serve as an alternative to chemotherapy, to kill targeted cancers by heating them up.

The field of PAT "has grown explosively since 2003 and boasted the largest conference in the annual Photonics West meeting in 2010," Wang said in the article.

The work is supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Read the complete article in Drug Discovery News.