Royal Philips has entered into collaboration with the University of California, Irvine to study the clinical accuracy of spectral breast imaging technology for gauging breast cancer risks.

Taking cue from Philips’ MicroDose SI mammography spectral imaging technology, specifically, the study will explore how spectral breast imaging can improve breast density measurement, and in turn, help clinicians to accurately gauge various risks.

Designed to address the industry’s growing concern about the lower diagnostic accuracy of mammography for high density breasts, MicroDose SI is part of Philips’ suite of diagnostic imaging solutions designed to enhance imaging quality for confident diagnostics at a low dose.

Studies show that high breast density increases the risk of developing breast cancer and also make it tricky to be detected by mammography. The ability to more accurately measure breast density will enable radiologists to personalise breast cancer screenings and potentially be used for treatment monitoring.

MicroDose SI includes a new feature called Spectral Breast Density Measurement which uses photon counting technology to simultaneously acquire spectral data of the adipose and fibroglandular tissue within a single exposure of a low dose mammogram, instead of estimating density.

Philips CEO Imaging Gene Saragnese said: "Through this study, UC Irvine and Philips are looking to set an industry standard for objectively measuring breast density. While this doesn’t exist today, it will be increasingly critical as we move toward further personalizing breast cancer screening, and enabling patients to become more engaged in their own care.

"With the combination of our MicroDose SI technology and leading imaging experts at UC Irvine, we can determine if spectral breast imaging can help provide more definitive diagnoses, at low radiation dose, to better help patients and clinicians in the fight against breast cancer."

The first phase of the study will focus on assessing the accuracy of the spectral breast density application by analysing 40 post-mortem breasts and comparing results with chemical analysis.

The study is expected to be completed over a one- to two-year period.