Improved Spatial Sampling of Breast Tumours

Towards a more sensitive and specific method to detect breast cancer and a more accurate tumour sampling procedure

About Our project

Breast biopsy is required to provide definitive diagnosis of breast cancer. While multiple imaging modalities are now available for guiding the biopsy needle to a suspicious target, the modalities are not optimal as some result in a high rate of negative results, are costly, inconsistent with physician experience, and uncomfortable for the patient. Development of molecular imaging techniques using an imaging tracer combined with Positron Emission Tomography (PET) systems are providing more sensitive and specific methods for detecting many cancers.

In this project, we aim to develop an improved Positron Emission Mammography (PEM) imaging tracer that is superior to the currently used FDG PEM tracer, and a breast biopsy system that is attached to the PEM gantry to provide a method to guide biopsy accurately and efficiently. The PEM-Ultrasound image-guided breast biopsy system will improve biopsy planning, increase accurate targeting of small high-grade tumours, and reduce the rate of false negative diagnoses. These advantages would represent a major improvement over current practice as the new system will have the improved cancer localization and sampling needed for evaluation of heterogeneous breast tumours. In turn, better sampling will provide improved decision support for therapeutic options.



By leveraging the strengths of the OICR Imaging Program, our objective is to:

  • Develop an improved radiotracer for PEM imaging 

  • Develop a PEM-based biopsy system with improved sampling of breast tumours that includes real time-guidance of the biopsy needle.

Project Impact

Our developments have the potential to provide a more sensitive and specific method to detect breast cancer and a more accurate method to sample the tumour for histological analysis, allowing improved decision support on therapeutic options. Our developments also have the potential to be commercialized by our partners CPDC and CIMTEC.

Our proposal is based on more efficient PEM detectors and real-time image guidance of the biopsy needle.

Collaborate with Us

We welcome collaborations with cancer researchers across Canada and internationally.

Our Team

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Dr. Aaron Fenster

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Dr. John Valliant

  • CPDC and McMaster

Our Research Output

Event Dates:

OICR, Toronto, Ontario

Event Dates:

OICR, Toronto, Ontario