Ballistic Missiles Research Leads to a Treatment for Breast Cancer

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An adapted form of technology developed by the US Strategic Defense Initiative may someday be used to fight breast cancer.

Did you know that research from the often criticized US Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) has been used to truly help suppress a threat to Americans?

That’s right, research from the SDI has led to a method of protection for the American people, not from intercontinental ballistic missiles, but from the removal of a breast due to breast cancer.

A team of researchers at the University of Oklahoma use Focused Microwave Thermotherapy (FMT), which is an adapted version of the microwave technology used in the SDI, as a treatment for breast cancer.

As outlined in the Science Daily article published on January 19th, 2010, these researchers discovered that breast tumors around an inch to an inch and a half in size shrunk more quickly in response to chemotherapy when FMT treatment was used two hours prior to the chemotherapy.  Although 75% of women typically require a mastectomy as treatment for a tumor an inch in size, the researchers found that only 7% of patients treated with FMT followed by chemotherapy needed a mastectomy!  That’s a huge decrease!

Limitations exist with this research, however.  The research subjects were not from a large randomized sample of people and therefore the results may not accurately represent the results the general population would experience.

The next step for these researchers is to treat patients with tumors larger than an inch and less than 5 inches in size with FMT followed by chemotherapy and observe whether the need for a mastectomy in these patients is reduced like that observed in their previous clinical trial.  Who knew such a promising medical treatment could originate from research done by the United States Department of Defense?

- blog authored by Gina Piscitello

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