Two separate scientific principles of tumor growth and development contribute to the effectiveness of the autonomic challenge administered to every IMS Infrared Mammogram recipient.
There is increasing evidence that most tumors begin to proliferate first by using an existing body process called vasodilation. The tumors co-opt preexisting host blood vessels causing a permanent and unregulated increase in the flow of critical core body temperature blood. Vasodilation is normally defined as the increase in the internal diameter of a blood vessel that results from relaxation of smooth muscle within the wall of the vessel. Tumors trigger vasodilation through the secretion of nitric oxide produced by metaplasia and malignant tissue.
Angiogenesis, or the development of new blood vessels, in a solid malignant tumor must occur when it has grown too large to subsist on nourishment from existing blood vessels, including those already fully dilated by nitric oxide. Additional blood supplies must be developed to provide for the metabolic needs of the cells at the center of the tumor. The process of angiogenesis begins when a malignant tumor is about 150 micrometers (0.15mm) in diameter and must be extensively developed by the time a tumor is 1-2 mm in diameter. Angiogenic blood vessels are unstable in that they do not have the ordered structure of normal blood vessels. In fact, angiogenic vessels are of a primitive or defective structure since they have neither any connection to the autonomic nervous system nor the vascular smooth muscle content with which to constrict.
Infrared Mammography is able to characterize malignant breast disease by indicating the unregulated and increased blood flow from the vasodilation of the existing blood supply and the new, angiogenic, blood vessels. This means the defective blood vessels of malignant disease can be characterized during an intentional challenge procedure to the autonomic nervous system by their inability to constrict as contrasted from normal blood vessels that will constrict. In fact, our experience demonstrates that breast cancer-related blood vessels may actually increase their caliber and temperature subsequent to the autonomic challenge procedure, likely from shunting.
The practical application of the autonomic challenge procedure involves placing a woman’s hands into a basin of cold (approximately 11 degrees C) water for one minute between two sets of identically positioned images. The cold water acts as an intentional challenge to the autonomic nervous system. The expected response to this challenge is a vaso-constrictive effect that will be uniform and symmetrical throughout the woman’s breasts. The pre- and post-challenge images can be compared in order to determine a temperature decrease that should occur as a result of the decrease in the caliber of normal blood vessels. This technique, then, contrasts the normal and reactive blood vessels from the non-responding blood vessels that are an important means of characterizing the angiogenic and nitric oxide-dilated blood vessels. Other techniques that blow cold air or spray cold water or alcohol onto a woman’s breasts produce significant and complicated artifacts rather than a physiologic challenge. We consider these techniques as unsound.
It is our experience that the autonomic challenge procedure diminishes the number of false-positive errors by indicating non-cancerous inflammation or mastitis as a basis for atypical high-energy blood vessels. The autonomic challenge procedure also diminishes the number of false-negative errors by contrasting non-modulating blood vessels from other prominent blood vessels in the same or contralateral breast.
For these reasons, the autonomic or cold challenge is a requirement for every IMS administered and interpreted Infrared Mammogram.