Hybrid UWB Radar/Inverse Scattering Approaches for Breast Cancer Imaging

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Engineering Science


Breast cancer is the commonest cause of death in women between the ages of 35 and 55 in Europe. Worldwide, a woman will die from the disease every 13 minutes. Breast cancer is very much a survivable disease however it is vital that the tumour is caught at an early stage. This requires a national screening programme for all women (in addition to regular self-examination by women of their breasts).

Unfortunately the existing screening techniques are not very ideal. X-ray for example, is only suitable for older women and is also quite uncomfortable. Even in these older (post-menopausal) women, it has quite high false-positive rates (resulting in women having unnecessary biopsies) and false-negative rates (in other words, it misses some tumours).

There is no suitable routine screening technique available for younger women.

The aim of this proposal is to continue research into a new imaging method based on UWB radar. This sends out a short burst of radio-waves into the breast and "listens" for reflections - these radio-waves are completely harmless and the imaging procedure is quick and comfortable.

At the moment this new imaging technique is in its infancy and much work remains to be done if we are to reach the ultimate goal of a cheap, quick and comfortable breast imaging method for all women.

Because the imaging method is harmless, it could be repeated as often as necessary and because it will be very cheap, it could be based in a GP surgery or even a van, rather than requiring a visit to hospital.


10 25 50
Description This research award set out to explore new methods of acquisition and analysis of microwave imaging with application to breast cancer detection in a joint collaboration with the University of Bristol. The Oxford component of this research concerned reconstruction and analysis of data from a new prototype design developed by the University of Bristol. New filtering and reconstruction methods have been developed and tested on breast tumour phantom data, advancing the knowledge of how to analyse experimental data of this kind and model tumour response using model-based and machine-learning techniques. This research will inform future work which will focus on developing the techniques further towards use of this imaging modality in clinical practice..
Exploitation Route This work has advanced knowledge of how to analyse experimental data from an ultra-wide band (UWB) breast imaging system.
Findings will be of use in suggesting how to modify the design of the prototype for clinical trials.
We recommend that future work on reconstruction and analysis further considers the application of machine learning methods which are well-suited to the recognition of signal patterns that underpin detection. This could only be explored to a limited extent on this project due to small volume of data generated but was giving some preliminary interesting results.
Sectors Healthcare

Description Dissemination meeting - Attending conference Progress in Electromagnetics Research Symposium, Prague, Czech Republic
Amount € 1,514 (EUR)
Organisation Dystonia Europe 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country European Union (EU)
Start 07/2015 
End 07/2015
Description COST Action TD1301 
Organisation European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST)
Department COST Action
Country Belgium 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Together with partners from the COST Action TD1301 we edited and co-wrote a book.
Collaborator Contribution Together with partners from the COST Action TD1301 we edited and co-wrote a book.
Impact Book (in press): - "An Introduction to Microwave Imaging for Breast Cancer Detection", editors: R. Conceição, M. O'Halloran, J. Mohr; authors: D. Byrne, Y. Chen, E. Elahi, R. Conceição, M. Glavin, E. Jones, M. Jones, P. Kosmas, J. Mohr, M. O'Halloran, T. Rubæk; Springer book series in Biological and Medical Physics, Biomedical Engineering (in press, publishing expected 23/05/2016).
Start Year 2013
Description NUIGalway 
Organisation National University of Ireland, Galway
Country Ireland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I contributed to the development of the numerical clinically-informed 3D tumor models for microwave imaging applications. I held bi-monthly skype meetings with PhD student Bárbara Oliveira and helped her address some technical issues with the creation of these models.
Collaborator Contribution The partners in NUI Galway created a numerical breast tumour generator which will contribute to future work in the field of microwave breast cancer classification.
Impact Journal Publication: - B. Oliveira, M. Halloran, R. Conceição, M. Glavin, E. Jones, "Development of Clinically-Informed 3D Tumor Models for Microwave Imaging Applications", IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters (ISSN: 1536-1225), 99, 2015. DOI: 10.1109/LAWP.2015.2456051. IF: 1.579. Conference Publication: B. L. Oliveira, A. Shahzad, R. Conceição, M. O'Halloran, M. Glavin, E. Jones "Combined Breast Microwave Imaging and Diagnosis System", Progress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium (PIERS), Prague, Czech Republic, 2015.
Start Year 2007
Description University of Bristol 
Organisation University of Bristol
Department Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We analysed a lot of experimental data collected by the University of Bristol. Initial work comprised completing spectral filtering in phase delay beamforming on datasets collected with the Bristol's multistatic ultra wideband breast cancer imaging prototype. Later work comprises investigating breast tumour response with classification algorithms from datasets collected with the same system.
Collaborator Contribution The University of Bristol's partners contributed with the measured data from the Bristol's multistatic ultra wideband breast cancer imaging. Together we held brainstorming and regular meetings to monitor the work progress (either at the University of Bristol or by phone/skype).
Impact Conference publications: - R Conceição, D Byrne, JA Noble, I Craddock, "Initial Study for the Investigation of Breast Tumour Response with Classification Algorithms Using a Microwave Radar Prototype", 10th European Conference on Antennas and Propagation (EuCAP) - convened session "COST Action TD1301, MiMed: Advances in Biomedical Electromagnetic Diagnosis, Therapeutics, Monitoring and Sensing Devices (Wearable and Stationary Systems)", Davos, Switzerland, 2016 (accepted). - R. Conceição, D. Byrne, J. A. Noble, I. Craddock, "Microwave Imaging of the Breast: Investigating Tumour Response with Classification", Progress In Electromagnetics Research Symposium (PIERS) - Focus Session: Translational and Clinical Research towards Microwave Medical Imaging (MiMed), Prague, Czech Republic, 2015. - R. Conceição, D. Byrne, N. Ghavami, P. P. Smith, I. Craddock, "Spectral Filtering in Phase Delay Beamforming for Multistatic UWB Breast Cancer Imaging", 9th European Conference on Antennas and Propagation (EuCAP), Lisbon, Portugal, 2015. Journal publication in preparation: - Raquel C. Conceição, Dallan Byrne, J. A. Noble, Ian Craddock, "Investigating Breast Tumour Microwave Response with Classification Algorithms" - will attempt publishing in IEEE TBME
Start Year 2014
Description University of Lisbon 
Organisation University of Lisbon
Department Institute of Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering
Country Portugal 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I am the co-supervisor of a PhD student from this partner institution, and was also the supervisor of a Master student who visited this institution. I kept email contact and skype meetings to supervise these students and help them in their publications.
Collaborator Contribution PhD student Filipa Borlinhas completed a number of statistical tests to data collected with diffusion kurtosis during MRI measurements. Master student Ricardo Eleutério implemented microwave imaging algorithms to axillary lymph node models.
Impact Conference Publications: - F. Borlinhas, L. Nogueira, S. Brandão, R. G. Nunes, R. Conceição, J. Loureiro, I. Ramos, H. A. Ferreira, "Diffusion Kurtosis Imaging model - Which should be the higher b-value?", ISMRM 2016 (accepted) - F. Borlinhas, L. Nogueira, S. Brandão, R. G. Nunes, R. Conceição, J. Loureiro, I. Ramos, H. A. Ferreira, "Quantification Models for Breast Tumors ROC Curve Analysis", 32nd Annual ESMRMB Meeting, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 2015. - R. Eleutério, A. Medina, R. Conceição, "Initial Study for Detection of Multiple Lymph Nodes in the Axillary Region Using Microwave Imaging", 9th European Conference on Antennas and Propagation (EuCAP) - Convened Sessions: Methodologies and modelling for EMF in medical diagnostics and therapy (MiMed), Lisbon, Portugal, 2015.
Start Year 2012
Description Organisation of COST Action TD1301, MiMed, 3rd MC Meeting, Core Group Meeting, Working Group Meeting for WG 1, WG 2, WG 3 and WG 4, Bristol, United Kingdom 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The third MC/WG meeting was held in March 2015 and sought to establish the current "status-quo" in terms of microwave medical device development in Europe. It served as a forum to familiarise the members with each other's activities, and highlight gaps for support, training and collaborations. A special session was held to report on the Short Term Scientific Missions held in 2014.
Presentation of all Centres of Excellence for Microwave Imaging (CEMIs): giving initial information about all CEMIs to potential visiting researchers.
A session/focus group for Focus Area (FA) #1, Microwaves to monitor brain diseases and functionality - Presentations from both a medical perspective and an engineering one was given. Launch of FA #3, Theranostics - Microwave diagnostics for therapy
A number of case studies were presented. Individual stories were told about the process from idea of starting a clinical trial until it is completed and reported. Sharing of experiences; difficulties, successes, failures.
Presentations/discussion on entrepreneurship and knowledge transfer were completed in collaboration with experts in this area such as INESC/TEC (Portugal).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://cost-action-td1301.org/events/3rd-mc-meeting-3rd-wg-meeting-steering-group-meeting/