MIT Breast Cancer Heat Treatment Begins Final Clinical Trials
A breast cancer treatment based on MIT Lincoln Lab radar research
has advanced to randomized clinical trials, the final phase of
Approximately 220 women with early-stage breast
cancer will participate in the new study, which began Oct. 1,
the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
In the study, microwave radiation focused externally on the breast
will be delivered prior to lumpectomy and radiation therapy.
The goal is to kill tumor cells and reduce additional surgery.
Early results from a prior phase II clinical trial were promising.
A majority of the patients treated with the microwave heat therapy
showed significant tumor kill prior to lumpectomy, according
to Dr. Robert A. Gardner, a breast surgeon at Columbia Hospital's
Center for Breast Care in West Palm Beach, Fla. (see MIT Tech
Talk May 8, 2002).
Gardner and Dr. Hernan I. Vargas of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
presented the results at the 2002 American Society of Breast
Surgeons Meeting in April and in the May 2002 issue of the Annals
of Surgical Oncology.
The data for 20 patients treated in that
trial were submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,
which resulted in FDA approval to proceed to the randomized final
phase of clinical testing.
The women in the randomized clinical trials will be treated at
Columbia Hospital, the University of Oklahoma (OU), Harbor-UCLA
Medical Center, Martin Luther University in Halle, Germany and
the Comprehensive Breast Center in Coral Springs, Fla. Additional
sites have applied for Institutional Review Board Approval. The
final phase of randomized clinical testing is expected to be
completed by February 2004.
The technology itself was invented by Dr. Alan J. Fenn, a senior
staff member at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.
Fenn realized that the
same focused microwave technology he'd used for missile detection
could, in theory, be used to treat cancer cells.
Society of Surgical Oncology,
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