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like a kaleidoscope

Ahead of the 2013 IATI-Biomed Israel Conference and Exhibition, the Hidan website interviewed Dr. Efrat Sasson and Dr. Tamar Katzir, from BioImage, to hear what the MRI test used for breast cancer diagnosis and for advanced preclinical and clinical imaging studies for the pharmaceutical companies, the equipment the medical, for biomedical researchers and doctors

Bioimage's FIBER MRI device used to monitor cancerous tumors
Bioimage's FIBER MRI device used to monitor cancerous tumors

What do Angelina Jolie, Kylie Minogue, Christiana Applegate, Sheryl Crow, Olivia Newton John, Cynthia Nixon (Miranda from "Sex and the City") and Eddie Falco ("Sopranos") have in common? Besides being famous women, the common denominator is that they all faced breast cancer. Together with other famous women, they revealed their story of dealing with the disease in the media, in order to raise awareness of the disease.


one past seven

The increase in the incidence of breast cancer is a worrying phenomenon. The concept of "one out of nine" is no longer relevant; The prevalence is one in 7.5 as published in a new report by the Ministry of Health. The increase in the incidence of cancer in general and breast cancer in particular, preoccupies many researchers in the world, and in a recent study conducted in Britain, it was found that by 2040 the incidence of cancer in general and breast cancer in particular will increase even more. Today the percentage of cancer patients among the population over the age of 65 in Great Britain is 59.4%. Based on the prediction model of the British researchers, this percentage is expected to increase and in 2040 will be 73.1%, breast cancer is the type of cancer that will contribute most significantly to this increase. Among men there will also be a significant increase - and in men prostate cancer is the main cause of the increase. One of the conclusions of the study is that these alarming numbers, especially among the elderly population, may lead to the collapse of the health systems. Therefore, early diagnosis is very important.


Indeed, the optimistic side of breast cancer is that 92% of women who detect it in the early stages of the disease will recover and return to normal life, the early detection will result in much simpler and easier treatment and a much simpler period of illness.

From the left, Dr. Efrat Sasson and Dr. Tamar Katzir, Bioimage company. PR photo
From the left, Dr. Efrat Sasson and Dr. Tamar Katzir, Bioimage company. PR photo


The health basket includes a mammogram from age 50 to 74 once every two years, and for women at family risk from age 40 once a year. However, in recent years the data indicates that a fifth of the patients are under the age of 50. That is why it is very important that women be vigilant, and it is recommended to start going to a breast surgeon from the age of 30, and you can undergo an ultrasound examination without radiation, which is not expensive (compared to a mammogram, which includes radiation). Another test that enables an early diagnosis of the disease is an MRI test. An MRI is recommended for women with a genetic family history and carriers of BRCA gene mutations that increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. This technique is also particularly effective in women who have dense breast tissue (young women) when mammography is more difficult to diagnose tumors in dense breast tissue.


The popular opinion is that an MRI is a simple photograph of the body's tissue." The MRI technology is like a kaleidoscope; With it you can look at the same organ in several ways and each time see a different picture. Each type of image highlights different information about the disease." Says Dr. Efrat Sasson, and Dr. Tamar Katzir, founding Bioimage company. "MRI enables accurate monitoring of the size of a cancerous tumor in 1D, before and after drug administration. Another image that can be obtained makes it possible to measure the density of the tissue. An increase in the values ​​of this scan indicates a dying process of cancer tumor cells, even before the reduction of the tumor can be detected, for example after chemotherapy, radiation or thermal treatment. (Figure 2). It is also possible through MRI, after injecting a contrast agent, to identify the vascular system that feeds the tumor before and during the treatment. Many drugs work to destroy the blood vessels that feed the tumor, thus leading to the death of the cancer cells themselves. Advanced MRI methods allow measurement of blood flow and vascular permeability in cancerous tissue (Figure XNUMX). This method makes it possible to distinguish between scar tissue that forms after the treatment or surgery and the recurrence of the cancer."


In women with breast implants, MRI enables the diagnosis of breast cancer (implants make it difficult to diagnose with mammography). MRI also makes it possible to check suspected leaks in implants.


One of the challenges that women who have had breast cancer have to go through is mastectomy, partial or complete. Such excision causes harm to women's body image, and adds another difficulty. The Israeli company Eyesure is developing an alternative to tumor excision - destruction of the tumor cells by freezing, with the help of a special needle (cryoabalation). This treatment has been approved for a certain type of benign breast tumors (fibroadenoma) as an alternative to surgery. The iSure company is currently working to extend the treatment to malignant tumors as well. MRI tests conducted as part of a study conducted by the company on breast cancer patients, demonstrated both visually and quantitatively that the tumor undergoes a death process after treatment, when the analysis was performed by Bioimage. Bioimage, a unique Israeli company of its kind in Israel, was founded by two women - Dr. Efrat Sasson and Dr. Tamar Katzir. Bioimage performs advanced pre-clinical and clinical imaging studies for pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, researchers in the biomedical field and doctors.


"Advanced analysis of quantitative parameters allows obtaining important information for research, increases even more the sensitivity of the method, thus complementing the radiological diagnosis for pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies. Imaging methods are useful in the development of new drugs and treatments, achieve results relatively quickly compared to traditional methods in research, and can assist in the decision-making process at important junctures in medical research. Correct decisions in the early stages of research can save many resources", say Dr. Sasson and Dr. Katzir.


The story of the establishment of the Bioimage company can be an inspiration to many women. Efrat and Tamar founded the company during their doctoral studies in brain research at Tel Aviv University. As part of the doctoral thesis, MRI was used as a tool to measure brain changes in aging. During the doctorate they were exposed to the need of pharmaceutical companies and researchers from different fields in the use of MRI methods. Since they founded the company, their clients have included leading pharmaceutical companies in the economy, and start-up companies in the biomedical field in many fields, such as neurological diseases, vascular diseases, cancer research, orthopedics, and more, and leading academic researchers in the fields of autoimmune diseases, cerebral palsy, psychiatric diseases, and more.


IATI-Biomed Israel 2013
Over 6000 of the top players in the biomed industry, scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs, public opinion shapers in the field, managers of venture capital funds and private investors, will come to take part this year in "IATI-Biomed Israel 2013", which will open on June 10, 2013 in Tel Aviv. "Biomed Israel" week has become, in its more than ten years of existence, an international conference in which the biggest (and hottest) names in the world from the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices take part every year. The organizers of the event, the Israeli Association for Advanced Industries - IATI - and the "Kens" company, estimate that among the thousands of expected participants there will also be over 1,000 guests from abroad.

the event site



British Journal of Cancer (2012) 107, 1195–1202. doi:10.1038/bjc.2012.366 Published online 14 August 2012. Projections of cancer prevalence in the United Kingdom, 2010–2040. J Maddams1, M Utley2 and H Møller1

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