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Professor Markets Cancer Detecting Underwear

Jason Mick, DailyTech

August 04, 2008

New breast cancer-detecting bra may go on sale within a couple years

Two seemingly divergent, but both rapidly growing fields are cancer diagnosis/treatment and wearable electronics. The two, however, may soon be combining, thanks to new cancer-detecting garments.

Leading the trend is the cancer-detecting bra invented by Professor Elias Siores, director of the Centre for Research and Innovation at the University of Bolton in the United Kingdom. Looking for novel ways to detect breast cancer, Professor Siores conceived of an electronic bra which would detect cancer at an early stage.


British research Elias Siores teaches at the University of Bolton and invented the cancer-detecting bra.

Since, Professor Siores has been hard at work, designing and prototyping the device and will soon begin testing his creations. The new cancer detecting bra uses a series of microwave antennae to pick up heat changes within the breast. Tumors demand blood flow, increasing heat in cancerous regions. This heat change is picked up by the high-tech bra. This technique is known as thermography.

The device uses passive microwaves, the same kind used to detect the location of submarines or pinpoint star locations. According to the University there are no risks associated with this form of microwaves, but obvious benefits. “If we can identify [cancer-related] transformations that emanate these heat signatures, we may be able to detect these cancers early,” remarked Professor Siores.

He hopes to have a market version of the bra ready to go on sale within a couple years. The finished version might include a visual or audio warning signal to warn users if possible cancer was detected. The device could be used to monitor breast cancer treatment in addition to early detection.

Some are skeptical of his work. Thermography has been around nearly 20 years, but the iteratively improved mammogram method or other more exotic methods are considered far more accurate. At issue is the fact that a variety of other factors can raise heat in a specific region, yielding a false positive. “There are benign growths and nonmalignant inflammatory changes, which might also increase blood flow,” said Anne Rosenberg, a breast surgeon at Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Nonetheless, Professor Siores is forging ahead on preparing the product for market. The university already has developed commercial partnerships with RES Ltd, Russia; Istanbul Textile and Apparel Exporters Association (ITKIB); the Greek national health service, IKA, and the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC), and hopes to establish more in the near future.

© DailyTech 2008

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