Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation Grants Award to Columbia Breast Cancer Research Team

March, 2015 — Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation awarded four innovative pilot grants to research projects that will investigate the human breast and how it develops cancer. One of the four awards went to a multidisciplinary team at the Department of Surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. This team includes Dr. Sheldon Feldman, Chief of the Breast Surgery Section; Christine P. Fleming, PhD; Dr. Fatih Levent Balci of Acibadem University, Istanbul (an affiliate with NYP/Columbia) and Linda Wilkes, Advocate.

The $17,000 award will fund the team’s study of the use of optical coherence tomography (OCT) in detecting breast disease using an intraductal approach. In this approach, a miniaturized OCT catheter is inserted into the breast ductal system via the nipple to provide detailed imaging of breast ductal anatomy. OCT is used in cardiology to examine blood vessels from the inside using light instead of sound (as ultrasound does) to create three-dimensional images. The team hopes to determine whether OCT may be able to identify early changes in the breast duct before ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) or cancer develops; whether it is feasible to use OCT to distinguish different types of breast cells and tissues; and whether OCT can show features of invasive cancers or DCIS that are detected on ultrasound or mammography. If OCT is able to identify precancerous changes in the ducts, this work could open important new channels of research for prevention of breast cancer.

The award was presented in March, 2015 at Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation’s 8th International Symposium on the Breast in Santa Monica, CA.

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