A PhD student from Bond University on the Gold Coast has developed new technology that is set to revolutionise the breast cancer screening process and potentially save thousands of lives.
Ms Ping Zhang’s research into the early detection of breast cancer has led her to develop an innovative hybrid computer aided diagnosis system that incorporates neural network and statistical techniques to overcome some concerns about the existing mammographic screening process.
The current breast cancer control strategy relies on expert radiologists checking the mammogram, or breast x-ray, for abnormalities. However, the process is not fail-safe, with some concerns including the potential for poor image quality, radiologist eye fatigue or even oversight, especially in the cancers earliest stages when visual clues are very subtle – all factors which can make detection or diagnosis difficult.
The technology developed by Ms Zhang is designed to assist radiologists more accurately diagnose breast cancer in the early stages. With early detection the key to the successful treatment of this deadly disease, improvements in the diagnostic process represent a significant leap forward in the battle against the deadly disease, which affects approximately one in thirteen Australian women at some point in their lifetime.
Ms Zhang was recently named as a top-three finalist in the Queensland Government’s 2006 Smart Women – Smart State Awards in recognition of her achievements in the field.
Not only does Ms Zhang’s research have the potential for wider application in the future, but it has also elevated her onto the international stage. She is currently working with a European consortium working on a Virtual Human Immune System to be used for the development of immuno-therapies for cancer and chronic infections.