It takes an innovative thinking to tackle breast cancer and scientists may have just made a breakthrough in treatment.
"We believe that our technique has the potential to be developed into a new treatment for lymph nodes invaded by metastatic tumour cells," says Tetsuya Kodama, the Tohoku University biomedical engineer who led the study.
The disease often spreads to the lymph nodes, which are designed to rid the body of toxins, so in the study, using mice, scientists from the university in Japan injected micro bubbles filled with anti-cancer drugs into a pelvic lymph node. These drugs then travelled up to the lymph nodes in the armpit.
Once there, scientists used high power ultrasound blasts to burst the bubbles and release the anti-cancer drugs.
The team demonstrated that the treatment was effective in killing the cancerous tissue using a bioluminescence technique that monitors cancer growth, and by studying excised lymph nodes under a microscope.
More testing is needed, but scientists hope this method of targeting the lymphatic system can prevent cancers spreading and increased survival rates.