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Imaging startup Micrima raised $3.45 million to detect breast cancer early

U.K-based Micrima, a startup that aims to image the breast better such that abnormal tissue can be detected earlier, announced Thursday that it has raised $3.45 million (2.6 million pounds) from investors to commercialize its CE-Marked radiowave breast imaging system.

Today, the standard diagnostic and screening tool for breast cancer is the mammogram, in which low-dose X-ray creates an image of the breast tissue with the woman’s breast compressed against the mammogram machine.

While Micrima does not seek to replace mammography and ultrasound, it does appear to offer certain benefits: breast tissue does not need to be compressed as the patient lies on a horizontal couch with an aperture through which a scanning head images the breast.

And because the technology used is radiowaves as opposed to X-rays, it is non-ionising. In lay terms, women can be repeatedly screened using this technology because there is no fear of exposing them to high radiation levels. Micrima also claims that the entire imaging takes about five minutes from scan to image generation whereas a mammogram may take 10 to 15 minutes and an additional 5 minutes to develop the X-rays.