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Innovative diagnostic method allows earlier detection of breast cancer tumours

Michal Rawlik (left) and Marco Stampanoni hope to be able to decisively improve breast cancer diagnostics with the new method. (Image: Paul Scherrer Institute/Markus Fischer)
A method that started as fundamental research at a large research infrastructure in Switzerland is making its way to the clinics where it promises huge improvements in the detection of breast cancer tumours.

An innovative diagnostic method based on phase contrast X-ray imaging allows accurate and painless diagnosis of breast cancer, much earlier than with conventional mammography. It all started with a technique, grating interferometry, first invented at the Swiss Light Source SLS for characterizing synchrotron X-ray beams. From its beginnings in fundamental research, over the last decade the technique has been refined and adapted for detection of breast cancer tumours. The research team are collaborating with hospitals in Zurich and Baden to bring their method to the clinic.

Story by Paul Scherrer Institute / Werner Siefer