A Garment that
Detects Breast Cancer
In March 2020, FIT received funding from the Hearst Foundations, national philanthropic resources for organizations and institutions working in the fields of education, health, culture and social service. The grant supported the development of a product that would significantly improve the treatment of breast-cancer patients and those at high risk for breast cancer. This interdisciplinary collaboration between FIT (developing the design and prototyping), Columbia University (focusing on technology), and the University of North Texas (responsible for clinical trials) benefited from the specialized design and technology expertise at each institution, creating an innovative solution for a challenging medical problem. FIT students are participating in the research, an uncommon learning opportunity.
During the two-year project period, the team is developing a garment that contains optoelectronic circuits that can detect breast cancer and monitor the effects of breast cancer treatment during neoadjuvant chemotherapy [NACT]. These circuits will be integrated into the garment by employing flexible, thin-film electronics embedded with light sources and detectors that measure transmitted, near-infrared light. Optical tomographic imaging [OTI] algorithms will convert this data into 3D maps of oxy-, deox-, and total hemoglobin concentrations, allowing for mapping of blood-vessel formation in the breast tissue. This new monitoring system, in the form of a sensor-responsive garment, will offer women diagnosed with breast cancer at-home monitoring of their response to chemotherapy treatments.