NIH awards Univ. of Arizona $3.6M for breast imaging research

The National Cancer Institute—part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—has awarded researchers at the University of Arizona Health Sciences $3.6 million to investigate a new imaging-based method to detect breast cancer.

Andrew Karellas, PhD and Srinivasan Vedantham, PhD, both professors in the university’s department of medical imaging and their Biomedical Imaging Innovation and Clinical Translation in Next-Gen CT–or BIG-CT–team will use the five-year grant to develop a “new generation” of breast-specific 3D CT imaging techniques.

The team’s design will not require breast compression—often painful for patients—and will offer an accurate estimation of breast density, a common risk factor for breast cancer.

According to the researchers, their method will reduce the amount of false positive exams and improve the detection of abnormal findings.

“The medical imaging research funded by this grant is an area of strength for the University of Arizona, and it is directly aligned with the new strategic plans for the university and the UA Health Sciences," said UA President Robert C. Robbins, MD, in a statement. "This research to develop new technology for breast cancer imaging, followed by a clinical trial, is a great example of how we should use the university’s strengths as an innovation powerhouse to create positive impact for patients, their families and communities around the world."