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Congratulations Niall!

Posted on: 18 Mar 2016

Congratulations Niall!

We’d like to wish a big congratulations to Niall Savage who successfully defended his thesis at Tyndall recently.

Title: "Development of a novel probe integrated with a micro-structured impedance sensor for the detection of breast cancer"

Abstract: “The work described in this thesis focuses on the development of an innovative bioimpedance device for the detection of breast cancer using electrical impedance as the detection method. The ability for clinicians to detect and treat cancerous lesions as early as possible results in improved patient outcomes and can reduce the severity of the treatment the patient has to undergo. Therefore, new technology and devices are continually required to improve the specificity and sensitivity of the accepted detection methods. The gold standard for breast cancer detection is digital x-ray mammography but it has some significant downsides associated with it. The development of an adjunct technology to aid in the detection of breast cancers could represent a significant patient and economic benefit. In this project silicon substrates were pattern with two gold microelectrodes that allowed electrical impedance measurements to be recorded from intact tissue structures. These probes were tested and characterised using a range of in vitro and ex vivo experiments. The end application of this novel sensor device was in a first-in-human clinical trial. The initial results of this study showed that the silicon impedance device was capable of differentiating between normal and abnormal (benign and cancerous) breast tissue. The mean separation between the two tissue types 5,594 Ω with p = 0.001. The cancer type and grade at the site of the probe recordings was confirmed histologically and correlated with the electrical impedance measurements to determine if the different subtypes of cancer could each be differentiated. The results presented in this thesis showed that the novel impedance device demonstrated excellent electrochemical recording potential; was biocompatible with the growth of cultured cell lines and was capable of differentiating between intact biological tissues. The results outlined in this thesis demonstrate the potential feasibility of using electrical impedance for the differentiation of biological tissue samples. The novelty of this thesis is in the development of a new method of tissue determination with an application in breast cancer detection.”

This PhD research was funded by the Molecular Medicine of Ireland and also through the SFI TIDA programme.