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According to the latest American Cancer Society statistics, one woman in every seven will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Early detection using screening mammography has been scientifically shown to reduce the death rate by 30%. But traditional mammography imaging relies on 2D X-ray images in which growths can be obscured and undetected, furthermore, the process of taking the mammograms is unpleasant for women. But it seems that there is a way to improve the mammography technique and eventually save lives.

Mercury Computer Systems and Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a technology that helps to create 3D model of the breast and increase possibility of early cancer detection. The alliance used Mercury’s system with GPeXpress 4000 graphics system which is powered by NVIDIA’s Quadro FX 4000 graphics processor and is equipped with 256MB of GDDR3 memory.

Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT) reconstructs a 3D-volume from a series of 2D projection images taken over an arc of 50 degrees. With DBT, physicians can “page through” the interior of the breast without the superimposition of the other tissues.

The DBT method involves vast amounts of computation, which previously took far too long to be clinically viable. Mercury engineers worked with the Breast Imaging Division at MGH to enhance its technique using Mercury image processing expertise, math1ematical optimizations as well as Mercury’s GPeXpress 4000 graphics solution reducing the image processing time and preserving high-image clarity.

NVIDIA Corp. said Mercury’s GPeXpress 4000 allowed achieving “unprecedented image reconstruction results” 60 times faster than previously. Mercury Computer Systems typically equip its computers with NVIDIA’s Quadro-series products, but tailor them according to the needs of the customers in terms of software, programmability, precision and performance.

Massachusetts General Hospital can now condense the exam and analysis into one patient’s visit, whereas before the technology was brought online they had to take the exam and then schedule a second visit for the patient to go over the results because the processing time for the results were very long.

“They think that more patients might opt for this procedure knowing that they could get both exam and analysis done in one visit,” NVIDIA’s spokesman David Higham told X-bit labs.

Mercury and MGH are working to move the DBT imaging technique from the laboratory to widespread clinical use, and are continuing their collaboration to improve cancer detection and diagnosis.

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More way to look at boobs with your computer... :D
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