Saturday, July 31, 2010

Week 7 - Jen Richards

This last week was primarily focused on analyzing the data from my experiments and wrapping up my research project as a whole. I got some interesting preliminary data, measuring the stiffness of fat and muscle. I think the device will be very useful to doctors removing cancerous tissue in the future, although it still needs some work.

On that same note, I did see a surgery with Dr. Simmons, who works primarily with invasive breast cancer. I observed a breast resection and lymph node biopsy. What was interesting was that the lymph node tissue sample as sent to pathology, and we immediately got a response that the tissue was benign. This meant that the rest of the lymph nodes could remain. The breast resection was interesting, especially as it relates to my research project. The cancerous mass was removed, and then the edges around the mass, known as the "margins" were also removed for testing, in case the cancer had spread. This is exactly what the device is meant for, to test the margins for tissue stiffness (cancerous tissue is stiffer than healthy), so that tissue is not needlessly removed. All in all a very interesting surgery.

This was a very educational and exciting experience. I would like to thank everyone who put the time and effort to make this possible, as well as my mentor, Dr. Spector, for sponsoring me for this summer.

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