At this point the technology is both rare and expensive. Only five medical centers in the United States use MRI/ultrasound fusion prostate biopsy, and the devices cost about $180,000, Rastinehad said.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the device, which was developed in collaboration with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, in April. It is being manufactured by Invivo, a division of Philips Healthcare. Rastinehad said he does not have a financial stake in the company.
While the technology is expensive, Rastinehad believes hospitals will end up saving money because they will be able to cut back on the amount of pathological examinations needed to assess suspected prostate cancer.
For his part, Eggener said the new MRI approach can help doctors meet the overall goal of finding serious cancers in a timely fashion.
"There are some early data to suggest it may be a better way of targeting cancers, finding more cancers and finding more meaningful cancers," Eggener said. "MRI is the best picture we can get of the prostate. It's not perfect, but it is better than what we've had."
For more information on prostate cancer detection, visit the American Cancer Society.
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