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Taiwan researchers develop breakthrough breast cancer treatment technique

Source: Taiwan News by Liam Gibson

A new system developed by researchers at Taiwan's National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) for breast cancer treatment with reduced side effects was announced on Monday (Sept. 13).

The system reduces skin burns, leaves no scars, and causes few other adverse side effects for patients, according to a CNA report.

A ring-shaped high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) transducer is used to erode tumor tissues. The innovative HIFU system is non-invasive and requires no additional surgery.

Chen Gin-shin (陳景欣), who heads a research team at NHRI, said other HIFU systems are slower and often cause skin burns. Even though HIFU procedures have become a popular choice in recent years, the NHRI said roughly 30-40% of patients risk musculoskeletal or heart burns when undergoing the therapy.

Removing a 3-5-cm tumor using conventional HIFU techniques can take up to two hours, but the NHRI's procedure can erode a 5-cm tumor in just 30 minutes, he added.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Taiwan, the institution said. While there are many treatment options available, breast cancer patients often suffer from a risk of complications. These include high re-excision rates, post-surgery breast reconstruction, and a variety of side effects from radiation and chemotherapy, per CNA.

Liang Kung-yee (梁賡義), who heads the NHRI, said the institution is looking for partners to assist with technology transfer so that its prototype system can become widely available to cancer patients.

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