'iTBra' could be the key to early breast cancer detection

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Ohio State University is testing what could someday become "magic 8-ball" for diagnosing breast cancer.

It's called the iTBra.

Doctors at the OSU James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research institute call it hope.

"The concept behind it is basically that when cancer forms in the breast, it changes the circadian rhythm in the breast," explains Dr. William Farrar, the principal Investigator behind a new clinical study now underway at OSU. 

When a tumor builds its own blood supply, it increases heat.  Circadian rhythm is the differentiation in temperature over a period of time. 

The "bra" is more in actuality, a medical device that sticks to the breast with metal sensors embedded that can detect the rise in temperature.  Dr. Farrar says this technology is particularly important to women who have dense breast tissue.

"The whole idea about when to do mammograms, how often you get them; this may help identify what group of patients need to get a mammogram earlier and in the dense population, which ones need to get an MRI or some other testing to detect cancers," he adds.

Cyrcadia Health, based in Reno, Nevada, is the company developing this wearable technology now in clinical trial at Ohio State.  According to its website, the iTBra demonstrated an 87% correlation to a verified, clinical diagnosis of breast cancer including with those patients with dense breast tissue.

Dr. Farrar, who started the initial study of the iTBra in 1988, says this new phase of testing will focus on women who have had mammograms and have been told by their doctors to return for a biopsy.

"It's the same principle," says Dr. Farrar. 

"Increased heat production, we can find it easier.  The computer and technology behind it has improved tremendously."

Dr. Farrar stresses that by no means does this new technology mean women should replace getting mammograms.  He says he considers this as just another tool in the toolbox for doctors in the fight against cancer.  However, Dr. Farrar says the exciting aspect of this study is that someday, women might one day be able to buy this "smart" bra at any drug store and get results similar to a pregnancy test.

If you would like more information about this study, call the James at 1-800-293-5066.

Register or donate: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Columbus