The procedure offers direct access to the most common origin of breast cancer, the milk ducts, and could be used to develop cancer therapy that spares healthy regions of the body, scientists say.
"Local delivery of therapeutic agents into the breast, through intra-nipple injection, could diminish the side effects typically observed with systemic chemotherapy – where the toxic drugs pass through all of the tissues of the body," said Dr Silva Krause, one of the researchers behind the experiment.
"It also prevents drug breakdown by the liver, for example, which can rapidly reduce effective drug levels," Krause said.
According to Silva, she and her colleagues have already begun experimentation in applying the method.
"The authors have utilised this technique to inject a new nanoparticle-based therapeutic that inhibits a specific gene that drives breast cancer formation," said Silva.
"This targeted treatment was shown to prevent cancer progression in mice that spontaneously develop mammary tumours, and is currently in review in Science Translational Medicine," she said.
The study was published in the Journal of Visualised Experiments.