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University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 2, 2005

Sun Receives $106,416 Army Grant For Breast Cancer Imaging

Lizhi Sun, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and researcher in the Center for Computer Aided Design (CCAD) in the University of Iowa College of Engineering, has received a one-year, $106,416 grant from the U.S. Army to improve medical imaging useful in the diagnosis of breast cancer.

Sun, who serves as project principal investigator, is joined by co-principal investigators Ge Wang and Laurie Fajardo, both professors of radiology in the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

Formally titled "Fluorescence-Enhanced Elasto-Optical Tomography for Molecular Imaging of Breast Cancer," the project is aimed at developing a new imaging technique to more accurately and more effectively diagnose breast cancers in their early stages. Currently, X-ray mammography is the primary method for screening and detecting breast cancer. However, mammography frequently fails to detect small tumors and is not quite specific in terms of tumor benignity and malignancy.

The UI researchers say that the enhanced tomography method is expected to have higher sensitivity and specificity than the conventional mammography on its own for breast cancer diagnosis, based on the fact that the interaction of mechanical compression with optical scattering provides microstructural information which clarifies and characterizes tumor structure.

They add that the proposed technique, which generates high-contrast images useful in identifying and characterizing breast tumors, will play a vital role in early detection and carcinogenesis and, ultimately, affect the quality of cancer patient care.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,