Calgary Health Foundation and Alberta Cancer Foundation in Canada have jointly announced funding of $5.7m towards a pilot project that could transform breast cancer surgery in Alberta.

Spearheaded by a Calgary-based oncologist, the Sentimag Project aims to introduce a magnetic localisation technique that will enhance the patient experience during breast-preserving cancer surgery.

Calgary Health Foundation CEO and president Murray Sigler said: “We are proud to be funding the Sentimag Project with the support of our donors and Alberta Cancer Foundation.”

The project utilises Magseed, a magnetic seed that can be safely inserted at the tumour site and remains indefinitely in the breast without the risk of dislodging or causing pain.

Magseed allows for more flexible scheduling, fewer imaging appointments, and reduces the number of invasive procedures required.

Manufactured from surgical grade stainless steel, the tiny metallic marker allows surgeons to magnetically locate the tumour with the help of a probe causing less damage to breast tissue.

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The Calgary Health Foundation has prioritised the funding of surgical breakthroughs, which made supporting the Sentimag Project a straightforward decision.

Alberta Cancer Foundation board vice chair Barbara Munroe said: “We are thrilled to support the Sentimag Project, a revolutionary step forward in breast cancer treatment.

“This project truly aligns with the Foundation’s commitment to transforming cancer treatment and ensuring the best possible care for Albertans facing cancer.”

Nearly half of the pilot’s funding comes from the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

The project’s future goals include further reducing invasive procedures by leaving a Magseed in place at the time of biopsy. This allows patients to proceed directly to surgery or chemotherapy.