The Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) unveiled the world's first MiniiScan, a small computerized x-ray machine that helps doctors in the operating room to detect breast lumps by scanning for radiation. The innovation allows breast cancer patients to have a quicker and safer surgery.
Currently, mammogram screening for breast cancer (mammography) is widely available. Because of this, the reported incidence of breast cancer is increasing. First phase, or early detection of breast cancer results in better outcomes, and the first phase on breast cancer treatment does not involve breast incision. Many patients have undergone surgical removal of tumors and surrounding tissue without the need for breast reconstructive surgery.
The surgery to remove small breast tumors requires precise locating and positioning. The general examination of the tumor is done by 2D imaging, which may result in incorrect positioning due to the need to use different images for pinpointing the lump’s location.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Putitsak Phutviboon, Dean of the PSU Faculty of Medicine, said that the creation of a 3D X-ray scanner to detect limestone in a lump will solve this problem due to its ability to detect lumps in any plane, reducing discrepancies of images taken from multiple angles. The PSU Faculty of Medicine, together with the National Science and Technology Development Agency, developed 3D computerized tomography called MiniiScan, which can determine the radiation dose of breast tissue in a three-dimensional plane, a technique that can identify areas of cancer or abnormal limestone. The results are fast and highly accurate. The researcher team continues development and will cooperate with Chiang Mai University and Khon Kaen University for implementation.
Prof. Dr. Pairat Thatyopnga, NSTDA, Director of the Three-Dimensional Computer Tomography and Two-Dimensional Radiography Project, said that a prominent advantage of MiniiScan is that the small machine can be placed directly in the operating room.
Dr. Suphawat Laohawiriyakamol, Medical Specialist at the Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, added that the world's first MiniiScan’s purpose is to detect abnormalities from the mammogram in order to see the scope of the surgery, and to ascertain that the diseased tissue has been clearly removed. In addition, the technology can also be applied to tissues of other organs where the detection of the extent of lumps is important, such as the liver, pancreas, etc. NSTDA revealed that the current production cost of the MiniiScan is about 5 million baht, with a projected decrease in price through large-scale production. One identified benefit is freeing Thailand from the need to import expensive medical equipment from foreign countries, thereby reducing public expenditure. This technological innovation is a testament to successful collaboration, which will yield further improvements in efficiency and technology.