The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a breast-cancer imaging system invented by a University of Rochester Medical Center professor. The Koning Breast CT (KBCT) system diagnoses cancer in women who have signs or symptoms of the disease, or who have abnormal findings after a standard screening mammogram.

The cone beam CT technology disperses x-rays in the shape of a large cone instead of in narrow beams, allowing the whole volume of an organ to be scanned in a single rotation.

Inventor and professor Ruola Ning, Ph.D., believes his system is the first 3D device designed specifically to image the breast without having to compress the breast tissue. The KBCT creates clear, high-resolution, high-contrast 3D images without sending radiation through the entire chest region. The KBCT images are capable of characterizing suspicious tissue and highlighting very small lesions, which are sometimes more treatable.

The novel, cone-beam-shaped radiation source is positioned beneath the table to avoid exposing the chest and torso, as it captures hundreds of images in about 10 seconds. The radiation dose to the breast is comparable to that of diagnostic mammography, Ning said.