UKM PhD Student Create Portable Microwave Based Diagnostic System for Breast Cancer Detection

By Izzul Aniq
Pictures by Ikhwan Hashim

BANGI, 2nd July 2018 – A Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) PhD graduate has successfully developed a Portable Microwave Based Diagnostic System for Breast Imaging.

Md. Zulfiker Mahmud, a PhD graduate in Electrical, Electronic and Systems Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment (FKAB) said the research is focused on developing a machine that is possible to detect breast cancer at an earlier stage, portable, uses the microwave imaging system and suitable for a clinical environment.

“This is in hope that the system would be easily accessible by patients without the need of going to the hospital unless necessary for further intensive checkups,” he said.

Currently, he said, the machine has been tested out on breast phantoms which replicate the characteristics of the real human breast.

“These phantoms are costly and it only lasts around three months. Further testing on human bodies is hoped to be carried out soon,” clarified Md. Zulfiker in describing the challenges of the research.

Radiation and uncomfortable compression of the breast during the examination are some of the problems in existing systems.

The new system which he developed focuses on using microwave technology with a non-ionizing effect and nine antennas mounted on the stepper motor which ensures that there is no compression occurred as this system remains contact-less with the patients.

The research with a team of two supervisors, Prof. Dr. Mohammad Tariqul Islam and Prof. Dr. Norbahiah Misran and three researchers, began in 2015 and has managed to receive a grant to work on the portability of the system.

“In the year 2016, this innovation was awarded gold in PECIPTA 2016.

“With this system, it is hoped that the level of awareness towards breast cancer increases and could be treated intensively” explains Md. Zulfiker.