Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New weapon against cancer: Microwaves can be used to create medical images

Date:
October 26, 2011
Source:
Chalmers University of Technology
Summary:
A research team from Sweden has developed new techniques of cancer diagnosis and treatment with the aid of microwaves, which could play a pioneering role in the battle against cancer. These techniques could save many lives and are more effective, less invasive and simpler than currently available alternatives. Clinical studies are now being planned.

The “microwave tomograph” currently consists of some thirty antennas arranged around a cylindrical container adapted to the breast. All antennas act both as transmitters and receivers. The microwaves spread out in a complex pattern that is analyzed by advanced algorithms, which reconstruct an image of the breast tissue in 3-D.
Credit: Jan-Olof Yxell/Chalmers

A research team from Chalmers University of Technology has developed new techniques of cancer diagnosis and treatment with the aid of microwaves, which could play a pioneering role in the battle against cancer. These techniques could save many lives and are more effective, less invasive and simpler than currently available alternatives. Clinical studies are now being planned.

The Chalmers team expects to be able to test two different techniques on patients within the next six months. One method is an alternative to mammography, i.e. using X-rays to detect breast cancer. The other aims to treat tumours in the head and neck by heating the cancer cells.

Microwaves can be used to create medical images -- a new technique known as microwave tomography. Andreas Fhager, Associate Professor of Biomedical Electromagnetics, has developed a system to detect breast cancer with the new technique. He points out that the method has several advantages over mammography.

"We obtain three-dimensional images showing significantly better contrast between healthy and malignant tissue compared to X-rays. That makes it easier to detect even really small tumours that may currently be obscured by healthy tissue, thus creating the preconditions for much more reliable diagnosis."

"Unlike X-rays, the technique also emits negligible doses of non-ionising radiation -- less than a hundredth of the radiation to which you are exposed when talking on a mobile phone."

The idea is to use the technique in conjunction with a treatment couch, equipped with holes for the breasts, to which the thirty or so antennas required by the examination are connected. It should be considerably more comfortable for patients than mammography. The method is also much less expensive, not only because microwave equipment is not so costly, but also because the clearer images make interpretation easier for the doctors.

In the second Chalmers project, the microwaves are actually used to destroy the tumours by heating them, a process known as hyperthermia. Clinical studies have shown that treatment with conventional radiotherapy and chemotherapy in combination with hyperthermia may double the long-term ability to cure certain forms of cancer, such as cervical cancer and soft-tissue sarcoma.

"We are now developing a new hyperthermia system that can reach deep-seated tumours in the head and neck with high accuracy," says Hana Dobšνček Trefnα, a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. "In this way, higher temperatures can be reached in the tumour without affecting the surrounding tissue."

With time, the Chalmers team hope to be able to combine both methods. As soon as a tumour is detected, the already connected antennas could be used to start treating the tumour directly while at the same time monitoring that the right tissue is heated up. The method should also be applicable for other parts of the body than breasts, head and neck.

Theranostics -- the treatment and diagnosis of diseases in a single system -- is a growing area of research, and the Chalmers team believe that microwaves have great potential in the field. The underlying microwave technology is already being used in the "Strokefinder," a helmet that can distinguish between blood clots and bleeding in the brain. The Strokefinder is currently undergoing clinical trials at Sahlgrenska Hospital.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Chalmers University of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Chalmers University of Technology. "New weapon against cancer: Microwaves can be used to create medical images." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111025090349.htm>.
Chalmers University of Technology. (2011, October 26). New weapon against cancer: Microwaves can be used to create medical images. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111025090349.htm
Chalmers University of Technology. "New weapon against cancer: Microwaves can be used to create medical images." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111025090349.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) — More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins