New Tool Helps Direct Radiation Treatment in Breast Cancer Patients

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A new 3D tissue-marker device helps to lessen the effect of radiation by providing a clear target for the eradication of tumors.

At Lovelace Women's Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dr. Linda Ann Smith uses a new device as a target to direct radiation treatment, leading to better eradication of tumors and a more positive cosmetic outcome.

According to Albuquerque CBS affiliate KRQE, the device, a 3-D tissue marker called a BioZorb, is implanted at the tumor site and creates a target for the radiation. The device will help doctors avoid treating healthy tissue surrounding the tumor with radiation, therefore preventing unnecessary damage and leaving a natural, curved shape, which is beneficial in post-radiation reconstructive surgeries. 

The tissue marker is a small coil with six tiny clips that provides a target at which to aim the radiation. It comes in multiple sizes, even as small as your thumb, and is matched to the size of the tumor or the cavity left by the lumpectomy. It is made out of polyplacticacid, which is bioabsorbable and does not have to be removed after a set amount of time. It will be reabsorbed by the body once it has been implanted for over a year, saving the patient from the scarring and healing time that would be necessary if the device had to be removed.

BioZorb is used mostly in high-dose radiation therapy because the intensity of the radiation can cause serious damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. The BioZorb provides a target so that the healthy tissue is not damaged in the effort to eradicate the cancerous tumor.

The BioZorb has been shown to help patients undergoing radiation therapy to feel less pain, experience less scarring and give them a better cosmetic outcome. It's also proven to help support the healthy tissue around the BioZorb so it heals better and is easier to reconstruct after radiation. The device is FDA approved and takes less than five minutes to insert into the breast. It is currently in use at several hospitals in the U.S.

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