By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A local researcher is working on a non-invasive way to identify malignant breast tumors.

Doctors routinely rely on biopsies to identify which tumors in the breast are malignant and which are benign.

Dr. Mathew Thakur, a scientist in the Department of Radiology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, says the procedures are risky to the patient, expensive and determine that most tumors are not cancerous. He’s testing a procedure that uses a PET scan to light up radioactive material injected into the body.

“That probe will identify only malignant legions, thereby minimizing the potential number of biopsies, reducing trauma to the patients and reducing health care costs,” Thakur explains.

He says the research is in the early stages, but appears to be quite promising.