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National University of Malaysia creates diagnostic system for early breast tumour detection

A PhD graduate from the National University of Malaysia (UKM) has successfully developed a system capable of detecting breast tumours at its early stages.

According to the report released by the UKM, Md. Zulfiker Mahmud has successfully developed the Mobile Microwave Based Diagnostic System for the detection of breast tumours.

The PhD graduate from the Electrical, Electronic and Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture (FKAB) completed his studies within three years. His research focused on developing mobile devices, equipped with a microwave imaging system that is suitable for clinical environment.The research for this project began in 2015 with three researcher and two supervisors. The supervisors were Prof Dr Mohammad Tariqul Islam and Prof Dr Norbahiah Misran.

He explained that with this system, checking for breast tumours will be more accessible to patients, thereby lessening the need for them to go to hospitals. He further said that patients will have to go to the hospital only when a more intensive examination is necessary.

He confirmed that the device has been tested on phantom breasts that have physical properties comparable to real human breasts.

A major challenge he faced in the course of this project was the cost of the phantom breasts. The phantoms are considerably expensive with a life span of only three months. Human testing is expected to be implemented soon.

The system he’s developing focuses on the use of microwave technology with non-ionising effects, which is achieved by using nine antennas mounted on the stepper motor. As this system does not touch the patient, breast discomfort caused by radiation and compression experienced on existing breast exams is solved.

Md. Zulfijer explained that this system aims to raise awareness on early detection of breast tumours so that it can be treated during its early stages thereby preventing the situation from worsening.

In the years 2016 and 2017, the project received research grants that helped it achieve system portability. An Innovation grant from PIK UKM in 2017 assisted during the development stage of the prototype.

The project was a recipient of the PECIPTA 2016 Gold Award. International Conference and Exposition on Inventions by Institutions of Higher Learning (PECIPTA) is a biannual program organised by the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia together with its partner institution science since 2001. PECIPTA aims to showcase innovative products and services from institutions of higher learning (IHL).

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