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Multidimensional ultrasonic scanning technology to reduce cancer death rate through fast and accurate diagnosis particularly of breast cancer

Final Report Summary - MUST (Multidimensional Ultrasonic Scanning Technology to reduce cancer death rate through fast and accurate diagnosis particularly of breast cancer)

In Europe this year 100 000 women will die of breast cancer. It is the largest single cause of death in women across the entire 35 - 65 ages group. The exact progress of the growth of a tumour is difficult to map; tumours don't really follow growth guidelines. What we do know is that once a tumour in the breast has grown to 2cm diameter there is already a 40 - 50 % chance that secondary cancers exist. To set this in context, breast cancer accounts for 31 deaths in 100 000 women every year. This also equates to 31 deaths out of 75 sufferers or a little over 40 % of diagnosed breast cancer resulting in mortality. Dividing those figures into pre and post-secondary cancer the figures are stark. Breast cancers that are detected prior to any secondary presence result in 20 % mortality whereas in cases where secondary cancers are present the result is 65 % mortality. Of the 100 000 women who will die of breast cancer this year about 70 000 will die from cancer that was not detected until secondary tumours (metastases) were present. Had they been diagnosed earlier, pre-metastases, nearly 50 000 of them would have lived. Diagnosis is key.

The purpose of the MUST project was to create a three dimensional scanning system which:
- Is a patient friendly scanning system available at the point of care.
- Does not require a significant fixed installation.
- That is fully affordable by the most modest of facilities with a target price of EUR 10 000.
- Is highly portable.
- Has great ease of use.
- Gives immediate results for further decision making.

The MUST three dimensional ultrasound scanning solution will not replace the CAT and MRI scanners, but it will replace some of their uses in surface or near surface tumour recognition, thereby greatly reducing the time to diagnosis and the cost of diagnosis and increasing the availability of high quality scanning.

The MUST development has the potential to put future generation imaging technology into the hands of the people that need it everywhere in Europe, by removing the need for infrastructure reliance, providing ease of operability, at a price that will allow widespread availability and market acceptance.

This work was carried out by a consortium of SMEs from four Member States, giving a route to the market and forming a supply chain with the ability to deliver the developed technology. Three RTD performers complemented the skills of the SMEs, providing technological development capability, and to whom a significant part of the scientific and technological research is assigned.

The crucial innovation that MUST must achieve is the single stage generation of the 3D image directly from the raw data coming from the ultrasound scanning probe itself, and the combined positional data coming from the gyroscopes and accelerometers. The absolute position of the source of the ultrasound echo is then derived from its depth (displacement from the sensor), the location of the sensor (accelerometric data) and the direction it is pointing at (gyroscopic data).