Laser Therapy Offers Alternative to Surgery for Liver Tumours
Research News in the British Journal of Surgery
11 September 2003: Laser light can be delivered in a controlled and predictable manner to destroy tumours. By inserting fibre optic cables through needles, doctors can direct the powerful laser light onto liver tumours – killing the cells and thus eliminating the need for major surgery. A review of recent research shows that this ‘interstitial laser thermotherapy’ (ITL) can be a safe and effective way of removing tumours and improving overall survival.
Cancer in the liver is extremely serious; left untreated, it can kill a person within three to twelve months of diagnosis. The best way of treating this disease is to remove the tumour by conventional surgery, but this is a major operation and is only possible in a limited number of cases.
“ITL allows a greater proportion of patients to be treated than surgery alone, but we need greater understanding of how it works if we are going to make best use of the technology,” says lead-author, M Nikfarjam, who works in the department of Surgery, at the University of Melbourne in Australia. “Advances in laser technology and refinements in techniques may allow ILT to replace surgery as the procedure of choice in selected patients with liver malignancies.”
Lasers kill tumours because the energy contained in light particles (photons) is transformed into heat inside the cells. Heating cells to 42-45 oC for 30-60 minutes disrupts vital parts of the cells machinery (enzymes), killing the cells. Increasing the temperature decreases the amount of time needed. With temperatures of between 60oC and 140oC, cell death is almost instantaneous. Between 100 and 300 oC water in the cell vaporises, and above 300 oC the cells are burnt to carbon.
The key to success is to raise the temperature high enough to kill cells quickly, but to avoid carbonisation of the cells. If carbonisation occurs at the tip of the fibre, light is unable to penetrate the tissue. Doctors use either ultrasound scanning or magnetic resonance imaging to visualise the tumour and the fibres while they are giving the treatment.
Current research is focused on determining the optimum equipment and protocol to maximise the killing power of the laser.
Jaida Butler | alfa
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...