Professor From MIT Creates Ultrasound Scanners Inside Of Bras That Have The Ability To Detect Breast Cancer Earlier


A revolutionary miniature ultrasound device, ingeniously integrated into a flexible polymer strap designed to fit comfortably within a bra, has emerged as a potential game-changer in the early detection of breast cancer. This is particularly vital for individuals considered to be at the highest risk for this deadly disease.

This groundbreaking invention holds immense promise, and with further development, may potentially save thousands of lives.

The significance of this innovation is multifaceted. Firstly, it has the potential to usher in a significant medical breakthrough by enabling the detection of breast cancer tumors in their earliest, most treatable stages, which is associated with a near 100% survival rate.

Secondly, it addresses the often-overlooked reality that breast cancer tumors can develop between routine mammograms, something that happens to occur more often than we may like to believe. Depending on the country, this statistic affects around 20 to 30 percent of cases.

Developed at MIT, the device allows the user to move an ultrasound tracker across the bra, checking for tumors as it goes.

Canan Dagdeviren, an associate professor in MIT’s Media Lab, senior author of the study, and inventor of the device, when demonstrating its functionality said, “We changed the form factor of the ultrasound technology so that it can be used in your home. It’s portable and easy to use, and provides real-time, user-friendly monitoring of breast tissue.”

Prof. Dagdeviren got the inspiration for the device from her aunt, Fatma Caliskanoglu, who died after developing aggressive breast cancer tumors in between her routine screenings for breast cancer just six months after her last screening. Sitting at her bedside, Dagdeviren drew out her idea for the wearable ultrasound bra insert.

In a pivotal study, the researchers tested the device’s efficacy on a 71-year-old woman with a history of breast cysts. Incredibly, the device successfully detected these cysts, some as small as 0.3 centimeters – which is around the size of an early-stage tumor.

Furthermore, it provided a depth of vision comparable to traditional ultrasound machines typically found in hospital and cancer center settings, further emphasizing its potential as a powerful diagnostic tool.

Since its release, the ultrasonic bra has won much acclaim and praise for Dagdeviren from her colleagues, including the Dean of MIT’s School of Engineering, Anantha Chandrakasan, who also co-authored the paper on the device.

“This technology provides a fundamental capability in the detection and early diagnosis of breast cancer, which is key to a positive outcome,” says Chandrakasan.

“This work will significantly advance ultrasound research and medical device designs, leveraging advances in materials, low-power circuits, AI algorithms, and biomedical systems,” she adds.

Notably, similar innovative solutions are emerging worldwide to address the critical issue of breast cancer detection. In Nigeria, an enterprising robotics graduate in pioneering the “Smart Bra,” aimed at reducing breast cancer rates in a country where this form of cancer is most prevalent. Similarly, wearable tech bras are under development in Mexico and Switzerland, emphasizing the global drive to enhance breast cancer detection and improve survival rates.

As for Dagdeviren, the ultimate measure of success is not in all the accolades or praise that she may receive for her invention,  but rather a rise in breast cancer survival rates from 95 percent to 98 percent. Although the jump between the two numbers may not seem so significant, it still represents the potential to save numerous lives of women just like her aunt, Fatma Caliskanoglu.

See more about this amazing invention in the video below.