Detecting Cancer Early

Technologies for revolutionizing breast cancer detection and imaging and for improving the treatment of neurological disorders are among the research projects with practical implications originating in the lab of Abas Sabouni, associate professor of electrical engineering.

New Technology to Detect Breast Cancer

Sabouni has invented a device that could allow breast cancer survivors to identify a recurrence of their cancer without leaving their home. A tiny, five millimeter transmitter would be implanted near the site where cancer had previously occurred. Using microwave technology, changes at the cellular level would be monitored, alerting a patient of changes at the earliest sign of cancer recurrence.  

Sabouni also is developing technology that would use microwave imaging for diagnosing tumors in the breast. The technology would be dramatically lower in cost than MRIs and other equipment, with an estimated cost of $2,000. A second, equally important, advantage is that it does not use radiation – allowing women to limit their exposure.

Non-Invasive, High-Resolution Imaging to Treat Neurological Disorders

Sabouni has developed a non-invasive, real-time method for tracing the effects of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) that could dramatically improve diagnosis and treatment for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other brain-related disorders. Wilkes has filed a patent application for Sabouni’s research. An FDA-approved procedure, TMS has been used since 2008 but, until developments made by the Wilkes team, there has been no way to provide visual feedback on the effects of the treatment in real-time. TMS uses intense pulsed magnetic fields to induce electrical currents in neuronal tissues, producing therapeutic effects in the brain. Sabouni’s work stimulates the brain’s neurons and captures high-resolution images. By using information provided by a patient’s MRI and a computer program simulation, this new technology can effectively pinpoint the area of the brain that needs to be stimulated—allowing for faster, less expensive treatment and a concentration of lower doses of current.